Bomb Shelter Business Booming Thanks to North Korea Threat
Hawaii residents heard Friday what the end of their world could sound like.
For the first time in decades, Hawaii sounded their nuclear attack warning sirens, which will be heard the first Friday of every month for the foreseeable future because of the danger posed by North Korea’s nuclear missile program.
“It is the elephant in the room,” said Vern Miyagi, administrator for Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency. “We should be prepared.”
The Attack Warning Tone, or “wailing tone,” is only the latest step state officials have taken to protect the 1.4 million people who live on the Hawaiian Islands.
Last summer, Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency published a few words of advice on how to survive a nuclear attack.
The 50th state is not alone. Flaming rhetorical exchanges between Pyongyang and Washington, D.C., have the world on alert, especially the Pacific Rim, according to Gary Lynch, general manager of Rising S Company, a bomb-shelter building business in Murchison, Texas.
“Ninety percent of our recent business, worldwide, is due to North Korea rhetoric,” Lynch told PJM.
He said 30 to 40 percent of the company’s business just in the United States is due to increasing tensions between America and North Korea.
Lynch said many people born in the 1950s remember being herded into their elementary school hallways one day, and told to hide under their desks the next, in organized atomic bomb attack drills.
Lynch said the North Korean missile launches have brought those Cold War fears back to that generation and instilled a new awareness among younger people.
“All it’s ever been for them is a history lesson, or they were stories their parents and grandparents told them about,” Lynch said. “Now they’re seeing this as a realistic scenario and saying, ‘Hey, this could happen again.’”
John Teschner, a 37-year-old grant writer in Hawaii, is a perfect example of the perspectives of the younger generation.
“I have often thought that it’s impossible for people in my generation to imagine feeling vulnerable to the real threat of a nuclear war, like what my parents’ generation must have felt during the nuclear standoff with the Cuban missile crisis,” Teschner told the Washington Post. "And then today I realized, ‘Oh, this is how they felt.’”
Hawaiian officials said that if the worst happens and North Korea launches a missile strike against the islands, they would have little time to seek shelter in a concrete building or parking structure.
"Pacific Command would take about five minutes to characterize a launch, where the missile is going, which means the population would have about 15 minutes to take shelter," said Miyagi. "It's not much time at all. But it is enough time to give yourself a chance to survive.”