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As N. Korea missile threat looms, Hawaii bunker may play key role

Hawaii preps for possible attack
A look inside Hawaii's preparation for possible missile attack 03:40

People in Hawaii are keeping a close eye on North Korea Thursday morning. The Pentagon reportedly detected signs that the country could launch another missile test. 

North Korea's last Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (IBM) test caused global alarm and experts say Alaska and Hawaii could be in range. Hawaii is the first state to announce a public campaign urging those living there to prepare for a nuclear attack. 

CBS News correspondent Carter Evans reports a bunker, located under more than 1000 feet of rock, could soon be used as an ideal place to ride out a nuclear attack. 

Every time North Korea fires a missile, the regime gets one step closer to reaching the Hawaiian Islands. 

"In the last two years, there was 56 missile launches," State Representative Gene Ward said. "That is a wake-up call." 

Ward says it would take less than 20 minutes for a nuclear missile to reach Honolulu -- something state officials want the nearly 1.5 million people who live in the islands to prepare for. 

"The first thing that we are responsible for is the security of our people,"  Ward said. "At least to keep the government running, and that's the important part of it." 

In the event of a nuclear emergency, Ward wants key government officials to have a safe place to operate, beneath Diamond Head. The jewel of Wakiki houses a little-known network  of tunnels the military has used for more than a century. 

Lt. Col. Charles Anthony is with the National Guard. He showed Evans the labyrinth of concrete tunnels and bunkers built into the dormant volcano. He says there are no plans to use them as a shelter. 

"It was designed to withstand an artillery barrage and also to unleash an artillery barrage in the opposite direction," Anthony said. "But this was not really designed for people. This was designed for equipment, material and weapons." 

Every vital public service in the islands can be controlled from within these two miles of air conditioned tunnels. Back in the 1950s, the government turned these old ammunition storage rooms in the tunnels into a civil defense hub. 

To date, the state's emergency operation center runs 24-7 in an underground bunker nearby. 

Retired General Vern Miyagi is in charge of the state's emergency management agency. He says he doesn't expect those 1950s-era civil defense drills. 

Emergency officials  believe the majority of the population would survive the initial explosion. What they need to be prepared for is the nuclear fallout and to stay inside for up to two weeks. 

"What we're focused on right now is shelter in place," Miyagi said. "The idea is to figure out ahead of time where you are, where your family is, and what is the best type of shelter that they can get to at that time of the day." 

What everyone is concerned about is the impact all this talk of preparing for a nuclear attack could have on tourism. The economy relies heavily on the 9 million visitors who come to Hawaii every year.

The local government wants everyone to know Hawaii is still open for business. 

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