Chances low but island state begins campaign that includes educational ads, sirens, school drills

Hawaii launched an educational campaign Friday to teach residents what to do if the islands were attacked by North Korean missiles.

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Tensions between the reclusive autocratic nation and the U.S. have mounted steadily during the first six months of President Donald Trump’s term. Earlier this month, North Korea successfully tested intercontinental ballistic missiles for the first time. Although the country stated it has missiles that could carry a nuclear warhead, the U.S. does not believe it has the capability.

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Nevertheless, one of North Korea’s missiles could reach Hawaii in 12 - 20 minutes, according to information released by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

While the state agency believes the risk of an attack to be extremely low, it is preparing for such an emergency.

Some of the tactics harken back to the Cold War, that ended more than a quarter century ago, including public service announcements, drills at local schools and attack sirens.

“We do not want to cause any undue stress for the public; however, we have a responsibility to plan for all hazards,” Vern Miyagi, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, said in a statement.

“We don’t know the exact capabilities or intentions of the North Korean government, but there is clear evidence that it is trying to develop ballistic missiles that could conceivably one day reach our state. Therefore, we cannot wait to begin our public information campaign to ensure that Hawaii residents will know what to do if such an event occurs.”

School evacuation drills will be similar to ones used to prepare for active shooters, while public service announcements will tell Hawaiians to “get inside, stay inside and stay tuned” in case of an attack.

Hawaii has no interceptor missiles, so there would be not much protection for the island chain if North Korea launched a surprise attack.

California and Alaska, however, have 44 interceptor missiles from the Pentagon.

The missiles, recently tested by North Korea, have a range of about 4,163 miles (6,700 kilometers), placing Alaska and the U.S. territory of Guam within range of Pyongyang while Hawaii and the West Coast fall outside that range.

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