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The Latest on Hawaii’s first test of a system to warn people of a possible nuclear attack from North Korea was NOT good.

Officials will investigate if sirens intended to warn people of a possible nuclear attack from North Korea weren’t loud enough after their first test.

The sirens were barely heard Friday in the busy tourist area of Waikiki, where few people reacted when the attack warning system sounded for the first time since the Cold War.

Officials also will check if any warning sirens didn’t operate as they should.

Vern Miyagi with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said early reports indicate the test went well, but the agency could get complaints later.

He says 385 warning sirens are located throughout the islands. Miyagi says how well someone hears them depends on how close they are to a siren.

Hawaii’s first test of a siren to alert residents and tourists to a possible nuclear attack from North Korea didn’t draw much notice.

Karen Lindsay and Carolyn Fujioka didn’t react to the warning system as they ate lunch Friday in Ala Moana Park, where the wailing siren was audible.

About a mile away, in more tourist-heavy Waikiki, the sirens were barely heard.

Lindsay vaguely remembers hearing the sirens during the Cold War era. She says the new siren, if it sounds for real, essentially gives people only a 20-minute warning that a bomb will strike.

She wonders where she’s supposed to go if that happens but that it would likely mean they’re “dead meat.”

Lindsay says the siren is probably best intended as an alert to say your last goodbyes.

The sirens largely were drowned out by crashing waves and wind along Waikiki, the famous stretch of beach in the shadow of the Diamond Head volcano. Beachgoers hardly noticed the test, which sounded like a distant siren. The warning would give people 20 minutes to take shelter ahead of an imminent missile strike.

 “I was out in the ocean playing around, and I heard this siren,” said tourist Tom Passmore from Calgary, Alberta, adding that he didn’t think much of it. “I think it’s a good idea,” he said of the test, “but judging by everyone’s reaction around here, nobody moved.”
Hawaiian officials said it is the first state to bring back the Cold War-era attack warning system. The wailing siren sounded for a minute after the usual testing of the steady alert for tsunamis and other events that residents are used to hearing.

The possibility of a strike is remote, but it is important to be prepared, Gov. David Ige said. The test will ensure the public knows what to do in case of an impending attack, he said.

The state delayed the test for a month to let people know it would be happening, Miyagi said. Hawaii turned to public service announcements on TV and radio, town hall meetings, information on agency websites and media stories.

Honolulu resident Mark Valdez was taking a walk in Ala Moana Beach Park, about a mile (1.6 km) away from Waikiki, during the test. He said he had heard some information about it but he “wouldn’t know what to do” in an emergency.

Also in the park, Thomas Hanes and his wife sat in hammocks as the sirens sounded. “We heard it quite clearly, and it was effective,” he said. “I just didn’t know what it was for.”

The Los Angeles residents, who stopped in Hawaii on their way to Australia, had not heard anything about the test. “I assumed it was a test,” Hanes said. “I thought if it is a nuclear missile attack, there’s nothing I can do about it, so I’m just going to relax.”

It comes the same week North Korea fired a powerful nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile it calls the Hwasong-15, leading analysts to conclude the nation has made a jump in its missile capability. The weapon would have a range of more than 13,000 kilometers (8,000 miles), easily reaching the U.S. mainland.

Hawaii is one of the closest states to North Korea, and its large military presence could make it more of a target. The island of Oahu is home to U.S. Pacific Command, the military’s headquarters for the Asia-Pacific region. It also hosts dozens of navy ships at Pearl Harbor and is a key base for the air force, army and marines.

Miyagi has previously said a nuclear strike on Hawaii would result in thousands of deaths, thermal radiation, severe damage to critical infrastructure and other chaos.

The tests will continue on the first business day of every month.

Karen Lindsay and Carolyn Fujioka of Honolulu kept eating their lunch in Ala Moana Beach Park during the test. They thought that if it were a real emergency, there would not be time to do much.

“It’s great to alert us, I guess to say our last goodbyes, which is basically all you can do,” Lindsay said. “You just hope it never comes to that.”


 Huny Badger is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.



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