An unnamed employee of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HEMA), accidently sent a message to the local cell phone network. At 8:07 am on Saturday, the following message went out to Hawaii phones:
Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.
It wasn’t a drill, but there was no actual threat. It was just a mistake. An accident. The person who authorized the message didn’t even realize what he’d done until the message came through on his own phone.
That 14-word message sent more than a million people into a panic.
And it highlighted how unprepared people are to react to this sort of threat—a situation that’s not unique to Hawaii. Very few people know what to do in the event of an incoming missile.
That’s understandable. It isn’t something anyone in the U.S. has ever had to deal with… at least not here on U.S. soil.
But here’s my question to you… if that message came into your phone, what would you do?
Would you know where to go? Do you know which the safest room in your house is? Would you be able to hunker down and minimize your exposure to radiation? That would mean staying put for two weeks. Do you have enough food, water, and medicine on hand to last your entire family that long?
Do you have a back-up communication system so you can get updates on when it’s safe to come out? Do you have a way to deal with the call of nature without increasing your exposure to radiation?
These are all important questions to ask and answer because we live in a time of uncertainty. The threat of a nuclear attack on U.S. soil is higher now than it has been since the Reagan era.
Because of the scare in Hawaii, and because so many people were uncertain of the best action to take, HEMA shared these steps to take during the event of an incoming nuclear attack. It’s a good place to start.