It is both bizarre and ludicrous that the fate of the world may hinge on name-calling and deranged rhetoric between the “Rocket Man” and the “Dotard.”

And yet that is precisely the position we find ourselves in as the “dear leader” and the “leader of the free world” continue their dangerous exchange of taunts over nuclear tests and America’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea.

We hope that Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump (or “Little Boy” and “Fat Man,” as one comedian describes them, evoking the code names of bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) ultimately staunch the fear-mongering and engage in meaningful diplomacy to settle differences.

The blast radius from a hypothetical 150-kiloton weapon’s airburst over Pearl Harbor. The innermost ring represents the fireball radius, followed by the radiation radius, the air blast radius and the thermal radiation radius. Go to to see how other cities could be impacted

In the meantime, the people of Hawaii would do well to have a plan should — however horrible it is to imagine — an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead come our way.

All residents and visitors (or hotel operators) should heed the advice of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and other survival information (such as this recent Business Insider article), which includes this advice:

  • First, have up to a 14-day supply of food and water. Same goes for medications.
  • Because electrical devices and utilities are likely to be disrupted, a battery-powered or hand-cranked AM-FM radio should be part of a basic survival kit.
  • Outdoor sirens and warnings on radio, television and cellphones should come within minutes of a North Korean launch.
  • Cell phone and internet access will likely be damaged by a blast. Don’t depend on them.
  • Once a warning comes, residents and visitors must immediately seek shelter. There will be less than 15 minutes to do so before missile impact.
  • There are no designated blast or fallout shelters in Hawaii, but concrete structures like schools, commercial buildings or underground or closed-in parking structures are preferable.
  • Basements, especially ones shielded by soil and concrete, are preferred locations to ride out the attack.
  • A car is not adequate shelter, and forget about driving from town to Kailua over the Pali Highway in an attempt to escape the blast and fallout.
  • Since North Korea’s targeting technology is not precise, neighbor islands are not necessarily in the clear.
  • If you are in a car when the warning comes, get out and, if shelter is not near, lie flat on the ground.
  • Do not look at the flash of the explosion. A missile attack is not an Instagram moment.
  • Stay sheltered indoors until there is official notice that things are safe, or when two weeks have passed.

No Time For Secrets

The advice on what to do came last week in a public hearing at the Hawaii State Capitol. Unwisely, Hawaii lawmakers decided to meet in secret earlier in the week to discuss a possible North Korean attack.

Such closed-door proceedings do nothing to help residents and in fact may alarm them.

State officials said the legislative briefing was closed because it included classified information such as what areas of Hawaii might be targeted. Not only does it seems unlikely that significant top-secret information would be readily shared in a meeting with dozens of lawmakers and staff members, but isn’t that the kind of information the public would want to know, too?

Officials say a nuclear attack on Hawaii is unlikely. But experts worry that the escalating crisis over North Korea means that, as The Hill reported this weekend, “a previously unthinkable nuclear conflict is fast becoming a real possibility.”

The time to prepare is now. Besides, it is much the same as preparation for hurricanes and earthquakes, which recent events in the Western Hemisphere show us are all too common.

Public outreach and online information is available to all Hawaii residents from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency’s website, via email (HawaiiEma@hawaii.govand phone, (808) 733-4300. Here are additional contact numbers:

  • Kauai Emergency Management Agency (808) 241-1800
  • Honolulu Department of Emergency Management (808) 723-8960
  • Maui Emergency management Agency (808) 270-7285
  • Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency (808) 335-0031

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