Here’s How to Survive a Possible North Korea Nuclear Strike in Hawai‘i

Here’s what you need to do according to the Hawai‘i State Department of Defense.

North Korea truck

Photo: Stefan Krasowski, Flickr via cc by 2.0


Hawai‘i residents are used to scrambling to the grocery store to stock up on bottled water and disaster supplies in preparation for a hurricane. Now the Hawai‘i State Department of Defense recommends stocking up on a 14-day emergency food supply to prepare for a possible missile attack from North Korea. 


“Everyone can prepare for this type of hazard the same way they would prepare for another natural disaster,” says Lt. Col. Charles Anthony, Hawai‘i state Department of Defense spokesman. “Their emergency preparedness kit should be virtually identical.”


And, since hurricane season runs June through November, most people are already prepared. North Korea threatening to nuke Honolulu, where the U.S. Pacific Command is based, is nothing new. However, the recent news of North Korea firing a new ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan is cause for concern since North Korea’s state-run media previously identified Hawai‘i and Alaska as possible targets


To alert folks to the different threat, the state’s Emergency Management Agency announced it will begin each month testing using an “attack-warning” wailing siren that hasn’t been used since the Cold War ended in the 1980s. 


Hawai‘i is more likely to be struck by a Category 4 hurricane than get hit by a nuke, but the possibility is still out there. “We need to make sure we prepare the public for that threat,” Anthony says. 


Translation: Don’t panic or write it off.  So, what is the best way to prepare for a ballistic missile strike? 


Here’s a hint: If you hear the sirens, duck and take cover. There are no designated fallout shelters in Honolulu, so go inside a nearby building and stay there. If you’re at home, then stay home, Anthony says. Just avoid windows and, whatever you do, the department warns, “DO NOT look at the flash of light.” Following the detonation, the department recommends remaining in the shelter until “you are told it is safe to leave or two weeks (14 days) have passed, whichever comes first.” 


“If people are in shelters, we’re quite confident that a lot of people should be able to survive without dealing with the impacts of radiation sickness,” Anthony says. 


See the department’s guidelines below. 



Emergency Kit Recommendations

  • 14 days of food, water and medications: 

    • One gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation.

    • Nonperishable food. 

    • Manual can opener. 

  • Battery-powered or solar-powered radio with extra batteries.

  • Important documents in a sealed plastic bag: 

    • Identification. 

    • Debit and credit card information. 

    • Banking information. 

    • All insurance information. 

    • Healthcare directives. 

    • Copy of property title/deeds. 

    • Copy of prescriptions and dosages. 

    • Phone list of family and important numbers.

  • Flashlight and extra batteries.

  • Plastic bag and ties for personal sanitation.

  • Matches, blankets and tarps. 

  • First-aid kit.

  • Whistle to signal for help.

  • Personal hygiene items: 

    • Toothbrush and toothpaste. 

    • Soap and shampoo. 

    • Antibacterial hand wipes. 

    • Toilet paper. 

    • Deodorant. 

    • Eyecare (if needed). 

    • Moisturizing lotion.

  • Extra cash in small bins. 

Courtesy of Hawai‘i emergency management agency


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