With an impending war with Iraq on the horizon and the threat of
terrorism still a frightening reality, some businesses that sell
survival items have seen an increase in demand for such items, while
others have noticed little change.
While Target officials haven’t noticed a rise in sales of survival
items, a few stores away at the Empire Center, Lowe’s spokesman Matt
Van Vleet said his company has experienced a surge in demand for
items listed on a Department of Homeland Security report, such as
duct tape and batteries.
“Across the country, [Lowe’s] has had sections in its stores that
have been inundated by customers,” he said. “The Burbank location saw
significant sales and attention a few weeks ago but the demand has
tapered off to calmer levels lately.”
Frank Bunker, a general manager of the Supply Sergeant, a military
surplus store with four locations, including one in Burbank, said
sales for survival items have tripled in the past few weeks.
“We’ve really been having a hard time keeping merchandise in the
store,” he said.
Hot-selling survival items at the store include radios, gas masks,
water, blankets and emergency food bars. Bunker also said duct tape
and plastic covering, used to cover windows and seal door cracks to
create a “safe room,” have been popular.
“But many of these items are also good for earthquakes, so it’s
not like they are wasting their money,” he said.
The store has also sold chemical-resistant suits and rubber gloves
for added protection. But Fire Capt. Ron Barone doesn’t recommend
such home-defense tactics as duct tape, and emphasizes the importance
of taking a more practical approach.
“There is really no specific threat [to Burbank], so I advise
people to be prepared any way they would for a natural disaster like
an earthquake,” he said.
Concerned that residents might take an alarmist attitude, Barone
urged the public to remain calm and place their confidence in the
police and fire departments.
“The fire department has put a lot of time and effort into
training and preparation,” he said.