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Hawaii to Begin Education Campaign for Possible North Korean Missile Launch

Hawaii will begin educating its residents on what to do in case a missile reaches its shore in the same way it prepares for hurricanes and tsunamis.
Image: North Korea Missle
This picture taken on July 4, 2017 and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 5, 2017 shows the successful test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location. FileKCNA / KNS via AFP - Getty Images File

In the wake of North Korea's ongoing nuclear tests, Hawaii will begin rolling out an educational campaign on Friday hoping to teach residents and visitors what to do should a missile launch from the reclusive country reaches the island’s shores.

The Hawaii Emergency Management System began working on the campaign in response to increasing public awareness and concern over the repeated launches.

When it comes to potential threats to Hawaii, the state is currently more likely to be trounced by a hurricane or tsunami than a nuclear weapon hurled from North Korea.

Still, it is preparing for an attack from the unpredictable nation in the same way it would a natural disaster.

"We need to tell the public what the state is doing," Vern Miyagi, administrator of the emergency management agency, said in a statement. “We do not want to cause any undue stress for the public; however, we have a responsibility to plan for all hazards."

In April, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency posted to its website, saying although the chances of a missile being directed at the state are small, it’s better not to take any risks and be caught unprepared.

A missile launched from North Korea could hit Hawaii within 12 to 20 minutes, the statement says.

The new plan will be based on what happens if a 15-kiloton nuclear weapon detonated 1,000 feet above Honolulu, according to Hawaii News Now. The state will also roll out a new siren system as early as November.

A siren currently in use will sound before the new one begins, which would signal to residents the state is under attack.

Image: North Korea Missile
A handout photo made available by the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) allegedly shows the North Korean inter-continental ballistic rocket Hwasong-14 being prepared before a test launch at an undisclosed location on July 4, 2017 in North Korea.KCNA / EPA

Earlier this month, North Korea launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile, according to military officials. The ICBM, which was believed to be "two-stage," would have a minimum range of 3,500 miles.

Related: What Should You Do in Case of Nuclear Attack? ‘Don’t Run. Get Inside’

Although the missile would not be to strike Hawaii, which is more than 7,500 miles away, it would be in range to hit Alaska.

"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," Miyagi said. "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."

Hawaii will follow in the footsteps of California, which began teaching its residents what to do should a nuclear missile reach its borders in April.

Ventura County in Southern California created an 18-page educational pamphlet, four videos and a curriculum for schools and a series of community meetings.

At the center of the campaign was the message "Get inside, stay inside, stay tuned."

Sheltering in place, beneath as many layers of protection as possible, is the best way to avoid the radiation that would follow a nuclear detonation.

Threat levels in Hawaii are currently considered low, but officials say that means now is the best time to prepare for what to do during a missile launch.