Hawaii Has Satellite Emergency Plan

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- If the Navy is able to successfully shoot down the troubled satellite, it's possible it could shatter and have pieces fall to Earth. Local emergency planners are not discounting the possibility debris could shower down on the Hawaiian Islands.

A Federal Emergency Management Agency task force is on Oahu ready to respond.

A FEMA team is here complete with HAZMAT suits to respond if debris falls on land, and Hawaii state civil defense has a hazardous incident satellite contingency plan.

At state civil defense headquarters, they monitor the orbit of the satellite

The tumbling mass of metal could weigh nearly two thousand pounds upon re-entry.

Officials here track military ships in island waters. They also chart an aviation alert, it's a no-fly zone for planes.

There are two scenarios state planners prepare for, all detailed in a hazardous response booklet. If the Navy hits the spy satellite with a missile, the concern is that debris could rain down here several days later.

"When the military intends to engage that satellite and then they will be on stand by with us and first responders to act to reports of debris that may fall on Hawaii, said director Ed Texeira.

Specialized teams are ready to roll.

"The federal emergency management agency has already mobilized about a 20-person inter-agency task force they began arriving Monday finished arriving yesterday, stationed at Fort Shafter," added Texeira.

An elite response unit from the Hawaii National Guard is also on stand by.

The second and perhaps more worrisome possibility is that the Navy misses and the satellite the size of a school bus falls out of orbit in our vicinity.

"If that should happen then we have prepared emergency alert system messages that will go out to the public to give them as much notice as possible and to provide them some safety measures to take," said Texeira.