Fleets of big black trucks, harbor boats and aircraft, equipped with radiation sensors and operated by specially trained law enforcement teams, are ready to swing into action in Los Angeles for a catastrophe that nobody even wants to think about: a North Korean nuclear attack.
American cities have long prepared for a terrorist attack, even one involving nuclear weapons or a “dirty bomb,” but North Korea’s long-range missile and weapons programs have now heightened concerns along the West Coast over increasing vulnerability to a strike.
“We monitor events all over the world and assess whether there is something that could impact us here,” said Capt. Leonard McCray, commander of the emergency operations bureau at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “North Korea is clearly one of them.”
As tension rises, the inevitable question is: How well prepared are Los Angeles and other U.S. cities for a nuclear strike? The answer is somewhat unexpected. After two decades of fighting terrorism, law enforcement agencies and the federal government today are better equipped and trained to handle the aftermath of a limited nuclear attack than they ever were during the Cold War. Yet generations of Americans have grown up without learning how to protect themselves in the aftermath of a detonation.
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