Do you know what to do if there was really a nuclear missile strike? Do you know where to go in your house, or if you're in a car?

The state says to shelter in place, but what does that mean, and why?

Island News reporter Diane Ako spoke to public safety expert Ed Teixeira on how to shelter in place. Teixiera is the former Vice Director of State Civil Defense, now called Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

Speaking by phone from Hawaii Island, Teixiera says "Obviously, it's going to be catastrophic. The best you can do is shield yourself somehow."

While a concrete or underground bunker is better, it's not an option for most. There are 220 shelters in the state, which can take 400,000 people. But Oahu has nearly a million residents, and tens of thousands of tourists.

Teixeira says the shelters in Hawaii are vetted for hurricane winds and not nuclear blasts. Also, you'd only have minutes to get there, which makes your home the best place to be.

"Center of your house. Shield yourself and stay there," Teixeira says. "We just don't know where it's going to detonate."

He also says that if you're on the road, "pull on the side of the road, stay in your car, and get down."

In a nuclear attack, Teixeira says you're protecting yourself from three things: Heat, blast, and radiation.

And says that during the years of the Cold War, the state had a different recommendation for shelters, specifically caves and "how to get to them and the number of people they'd hold."

And while that's no longer the advice, if you're near one during an attack, it still works. "It's better to get into something to shield yourself from the effects of a potential nuclear weapon," says Teixeira.