SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - The likelihood of a North Korean nuclear attack here in the Bay Area is low, but cities are prepared for the worst.
We spoke to an expert at Stanford University's Hoover Institution who says the public should not panic and that the chance of an attack is low because North Korea isn't quite there yet with its ability to launch missiles to the U.S., but just in case San Francisco officials are prepared.
"If they launch one nuclear missile toward the United States, whether it hits it or not, whether it explodes or not, that's not just an act of war, that's an act of suicide," said Dr. Thomas Henriksen with the Hoover Institution.
The Hoover Institution is a center for the advanced study of public policy. He says even if missiles can reach across the Pacific, the North Koreans haven't quite mastered how the warhead would survive re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.
Dr. Henriksen said on a a scale of 1 to 10, he thinks they know a lot and they've done a lot and are getting better and have improved vastly over the past decade and would put their capabilities somewhere in the range of a 6 or 7.
In the event of a nuclear attack, San Fancisco's Department of Emergency Management or DEM has scenarios worked out.
"It's not like we haven't thought about this," said Francis Zamora, with SF DEM. "The more likely scenario for us is not that of a nuclear attack if you're talking about radiation it's that of a dirty bomb. "
A dirty bomb is a smaller scale attack. DEM will be running a drill this fall which includes a dirty bomb scenario.
DEM urges all San Francisco residents to sign up for AlertSF on their cell phones, which will alert citizens of any shelters in place.
"That includes what messages we're sending out to the public so it is things like, you know, hey go into the shower but don't use shampoo. The shampoo and conditioner will cause the radiation to stick more."
Officials say in the event of a nuclear attack, you should seek shelter, preferably a concrete building, perhaps in a basement. Lie flat on the ground and cover your head. Do not look at the flash as it could blind you and after the initial shock, take off your clothes and shower with water only.
Henriksen says if you are two miles or more away from the the bomb, you have a greater chance of survival. Again experts say a nuclear bomb is unlikely but it is a potential threat.
"I don't think [Jong Un] is crazy. I don't 'even think North Korean leadership is crazy. I think they're calculating.
They measure power in pounds or inches. They know what they're doing. They're clever," said Henriksen.
"They do know by using this inflated inflammatory rhetoric, that they will get a reaction from us. But on the other hand, there's always the concern that this is a young man, Kim Jong Un, he's not as seasoned as his grandfather or his father and he might miscalculate. I think that's a legitimate concern."