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Survival item sales on the rise

Jackson Bell

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.