Threatened By North Korea, Hawaii Revives Warning Siren

Threatened By North Korea, Hawaii Revives Warning Siren Promo Image

Hawaii will reinstate a Cold War-era nuclear attack warning system beginning Dec. 1. The decision came before North Korea conducted another ballistic missile test on Nov. 29.

Earlier in November, the state's emergency management agency released a public service announcement detailing its plans to revive the Attack Warning Zone, a loud siren that has stayed silent for over two decades.

The alarm will sound for 50 seconds on the first business day of every month. December's alarm will take place after the monthly hurricane and tsunami sirens.

"We stopped using it in the mid-1990s after the Cold War ended in the 80s," emergency management spokesman Richard Rapoza told The New York Times.

Rapoza and other authorities say the possibility of a nuclear attack on Hawaii is "extremely unlikely," but that it needs to be used again because of North Korea's recent missile tests.

Image placeholder title

The most recent missile test was from Pyongyang and landed 600 miles away in the Sea of Japan.

President Donald Trump said the situation would be dealt with, but Defense Secretary Jim Mattis expressed concern over the 53-minute flight.

"It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they've taken," Mattis announced at a budget meeting with Trump and Republican lawmakers. "The bottom line is, it's a continued effort to build a threat -- a ballistic missile threat that endangers world peace, regional peace and certainly the United States."

Hawaii began responding to the threat in July, when nuclear tests proved that North Korean technology was capable of hitting the island. The emergency management agency released plans for what to do in the event of an attack.

Image placeholder title

Hawaiian residents have conflicting views of the warning system. One told ABC News that he'd prefer to be warned in a nuclear attack, while another said that he didn't think it would make much difference. Others were just unsettled.

"If there really is a need for this it's very disconcerting," said Dvorah Governale, a 36-year-old Hawaii resident. "This reminds me of bomb shelter drills during the Cold War when I lived on the mainland. The whole thing makes me very uneasy and consumes more of my thoughts than it should."

Hawaii has told those living on the islands to designate an indoor place to seek shelter in case of a missile attack. This has inspired some to begin discussing plans with their family.

But Neil Milner, 76, brought up the possibility of becoming trapped during a crisis.

"It would be instant gridlock with people trying to get somewhere," Milner said. "In theory having a shelter makes sense, but if a nuclear bomb would strike Oahu I don't think it would really make a difference so I don't have any plans to go anywhere in particular if there is a missile coming."

Sources: The New York Times (2), ABC News / Featured Image: Rajiv Patel/Flickr / Embedded Images: Leif Skoogfors/FEMA Photo, Mac Dreamstate/Wikimedia Commons

Popular Video