A look back: U.S. safety measures to address a missile attack

Posted at 1:06 PM, Jan 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-13 16:06:02-05

(KGTV) - Following a false alert sent out to residents of Hawaii warning of an incoming ballistic missile Saturday, the question has cropped up stateside: Are we safe?

Hawaii was the first state to prepare for the possibility of a missile launch from North Korea last year. The state was working to reinstate an attack warning system, similar to air raid sirens used during the Cold War.

Since tensions have grown between the U.S. and North Korea over North Korea's nuclear weapon capabilities, many in the U.S. have asked that question. So much so that a tool called "Nukemap" has been making the rounds online.

RELATED: Hawaii residents mistakenly sent emergency message warning them to seek shelter from missile

The U.S. also successfully tested the THAAD missile defense system last year. The successful test had military officials launch an intercontinental missile from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific and intercept it with a missile launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Last December, two Congressman reportedly told Reuters the Pentagon was also looking into West Coast locations to install the THAAD system - though, deployments may not happen right away.

RELATED: Social reaction: False Hawaiian missile alert sends state into panic

For those military members overseas on the USS Carl Vinson closest to the region, Adm. Harry Harris, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, has said they are safe.

Speaking to Congress in April 2017, he said that anything North Korea launched against the ship or its fleet would be "easily defended by the capabilities resident in that strike group. If it flies, it will die."