While we hope there’ll never be an attack by North Korea it never hurts to be prepared. The United States is already taking steps to make sure we don’t get caught off guard in case some catastrophic event should happen.
In fact, Hawaii just started testing a nuclear warning siren and plans to do it monthly. The goal is to alert residents of an impending nuclear missile strike. It’s the first batch of tests since the end of the Cold War.
On the first business day of every month at 11:45 a.m., a steady alert signal will blare from speakers for 50 seconds. There’ll be a 10-second pause followed by another loud tone for 50 seconds. Hawaii residents are expected to seek shelter immediately after hearing the warning signal.
Due to its close proximity to North Korea, Hawaii will only have about a 20-minute heads up in the event a missile is launched at the islands.
Wireless Emergency Alerts
Public Safety officials use Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) to alert you to natural or man-made disasters. WEAs are made available through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).
Alerts received in a timely manner can help keep you safe during an emergency. WEA is able to send warnings to your mobile device. No need to download an app or subscribe to a service.
WEA will look like a text message and will show the type and time of the alert and if there’s any action you should take. It’ll be no more than 90 characters. Messages contain a special tone and vibration that’s repeated twice. There’s no charge for the service.
If you should receive a WEA message, take any action it recommends and try to get more details from local media or government experts.
WEA became available in April 2012 but many older mobile devices are not WEA-capable. All newer mobile devices should be able to receive WEA messages.
Who can send WEAs?
WEAs can be sent by state and local public safety and law enforcement, the National Weather Service, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the United States President.
These alerts can be issued for three categories:
- Imminent Threat
- AMBER Alert
Make a plan
It’s always a good idea to have a plan in place in case there’s an emergency. Remember, your family may not be together if a disaster strikes. To start your emergency plan, talk with your family, friends or household about how you plan to receive emergency alerts and warnings.
Next, figure out what your shelter plan is along with the evacuation route. You’ll also want to have a family/household communication plan. You should have a wallet-sized emergency communication plan printed out that you and your family members can always carry.
How can you sign up for WEAs?
You can sign up for Wireless Emergency Alerts at https://www.ready.gov/alerts. You’ll also find information on how to build a disaster supply kit. Be sure and share this with family and friends so they will also have a plan in place.
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