Last weekend people across Hawaii scrambled for safety when a warning message about an inbound missile was sent to mobile phones and shown on television.
Now, the National Centre for Disaster Preparedness has claimed that not enough people are prepared for what to do if a missile strike was imminent.
Dr. Irwin Redlener said: “It’s a real possibility.
“City officials should be talking about what their citizens should do if an attack happened.
“And it’s a necessity for individuals and families to talk about and develop their own plan of what they would do.”
The centre has claimed that the mistaken Hawaii warning acts as the perfect opportunity to teach people what to do if there is an attack.
In December last year, the island started testing its nuclear alert siren to check it still worked, it is the first time that the siren has been used since the end of the Cold War.
However, despite the same old alarm system still in use today, Columbia University’s disaster department say that the action people should take if under threat has changed since the height of nuclear fallout.
Dr Redlener said: “We’re not facing what we were facing 50 years ago when the Soviet Union and the US had nuclear warheads pointed at each other that would devastate the world.
“There’s a threat, but it’s a different type of threat today.”
Across the US there are tens of thousands of old nuclear shelters, with 18,000 in New York alone.
However, built in the 1960s they were abandoned in the 1970s and have now aged.
According to Eliot Calhoun, a disaster planner for New York’s Emergency Management Department, the best thing to do if there was an attack from Kim Jong-un’s hermit state would be to remain indoors.
He said: “Don’t go outside unless you absolutely must.”
The expert advised that if there was an area telling people to take immediate shelter the best things to do would be to hide in a building with as few windows and as many walls as possible.
He also said that should North Korea launch a missile, there would be around 15 to 20minutes for people to take cover.