What would you do if the end was coming?


It's old news now, but you may have heard that residents of Hawaii received an emergency alert on January 13 that a ballistic missile was on its way.  Previously, a report had noted that a missile launched from North Korea would take about 20 minutes to reach Hawaii, with a window of about 12 minutes for warning residents and visitors.  Since the alert was not rescinded for 38 minutes, I suspect a lot of people were looking up at the sky, wondering what was going to happen next.  

In Utah, I've worked with folk to promote emergency preparedness, as a member of CERT (Community Emergency Preparedness Team), our local Medical Reserve Corps, and with the Cache Humane Society promoting 72 hour kits for animals.   The concerns in Utah revolve primarily around fires and earthquakes, but flooding, infectious diseases, and toxic spills are also concerns.  I don't live each day worrying about armageddon.  My first strategy is to beg for mercy from those who have stockpiled food and supplies.  If that doesn't work, my secondary strategy is to let out the air in all the tires around the food distribution network, and then rent out my hand pump for a can of refried beans.

I've asked 6 people how they responded to the emergency alert.  One person called all her kids to tell them she loved them.  The second started filling up water containers.  The third said, "This can't be right.  I'm going to play tennis."  The fourth went to his computer to figure out how the phone had been hacked.  The fifth slept through it all.  And the sixth collected the family and stood in the laundry room on the ground floor, waiting for a blast or the all-clear sign.

What would I have done with 12 minutes of warning?  I probably would have tried to verify the alert, while tracking down Caroline.  Say that takes 2 minutes.  A Whatsapp message to Katelin and Wesley would have only taken a minute.  That leaves me with about 9 minutes.  It's 12 miles from Manoa to Pearl Harbor, which I assume is ground zero for any missile.  


I think having a 72 hour kit would be a good idea.  Since US Attorney General Jeff "Tell me what to do, Donald" Sessions called Hawaii an "island in the Pacific" (which is true, but he seemed to forget that it is also a state), The Donald has demonstrated a very obvious favoritism toward states filled with his supporters (which Hawaii is not), and the debacle in Puerto Rico has given us a real taste for how The Donald responds to disasters, I would expect more assistance from Japan and the LDS Church than from Washington DC.  I've been told that Hawaii has about 7-8 days of food reserves.  I don't know if this is true, but the vast majority of food is imported.  You can't eat sunshine and palm trees.  

My high school 2 years after I graduated.
I hope I never have to worry about facing a major disaster.  I have experienced a few from the edges.  My hometown of Xenia was destroyed by a super tornado in 1974, when I was away at college... I didn't hear from my parents for 2-3 days.  Katelin visited a resort in Egypt that later suffered a terrorist attack.  Caroline missed by 2 days a terrorist running down cyclists and pedestrians  with a vehicle.  Wesley was in Peru during catastrophic flooding (however, being in the margins of the rainforest, meh).  And our kids were born in northern California, where fires devastated Santa Rosa and surrounding communities.

I hope I can face disaster with resilience and helpfulness, compassion and resourcefulness.  

After our run, and before the missiles.


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