If you’re like us, you probably remember the days of “duck and cover” drills and those awful blaring sirens. The Cold-War era was a time of fear and uncertainty as the threat of nuclear war engulfed the world. Now, three decades later, Hawaii is once again preparing for the worst.
For the first time in 30 years, the Aloha state is sounding air-raid sirens that will warn Hawaiians of an impending nuclear attack. Hawaii Emergency Management will run the sirens on Friday across the islands for approximately 60 seconds.
According to Reuters, officials will also be releasing public service announcements to accompany the sirens. They will warn citizens to “get inside, stay inside and stay tuned.” The sirens and announcements will be conducted on monthly basis.
Use of the warning systems comes just months after the House Public Safety Committee unanimously passed a resolution calling for an update to the state’s disaster preparedness plans. Updates to the plan specifically address the possibility of a nuclear strike from North Korea.
Less than two weeks later, the leader of U.S. Pacific Command testified to the Senate that Hawaii was at-risk of an attack. “Kim Jong-Un is clearly in a position to threaten Hawaii today in my opinion,” Adm. Harry Harris told the House Armed Services Committee in April.
In addition to the warning sirens and PSA’s, other precautions include renovating Cold-War era fallout shelters. In the past, most shelters were stocked with non-perishable food items, medical kits, and sanitation supplies.
Concerns regarding Pyongyang’s growing nuclear program have steadily increased in the last few months. Tensions escalated even further today after the North launched another ballistic missile over the Sea of Japan.
Like Hawaii, Japan is also preparing citizens for a nuclear attack. In August, Kim launched an ICBM that passed over the Tohoku region at the northern end of the country. In response to the threat, local government immediately began urging people living in the area to take refuge in solid buildings or underground shelters.
President Trump is consistently working to curb North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. The Department of Defense recently requested additional funding to revamp U.S. anti-missile defense systems. DoD officials also hope to develop new technologies to combat the threat.