East Texans Load Up on "Terror" Safety Supplies - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

02/13/03 - East Texas

East Texans Load Up on "Terror" Safety Supplies

East Texans are apparently buying items recommended to guard their homes against terrorist attacks. An FBI advisory says all homes should be stocked with at least three days worth of food and water ahead of an attack. Just a few days ago, duct tape and plastic wrap were recommended to create a "safe room" in your home against biological or chemical attacks. So now the tape and plastic wrap, along with batteries, flashlights, and water are seeing a surge in local sales.

However some are worried these "safe rooms" meant to protect your family could end up putting them in other types of danger.

Standard supplies like water, flashlights, food, radios and batteries are always good to have on hand, says Tyler Fire Chief David Schlottach.

And according to retailers like Target, water and radios have jumped dramatically in sales.

"I just see how empty the water shelves are, and we usually keep our shelves pretty full," says sales associate Arnie Bobbitt. "So, there's evidence of lots of water shoppage."

Gas powered generators, duct tape and plastic have also seen a healthy surge in sales. Home Depot in Tyler doubled its duct tape and plastic sales in just four days.

"One of our phone operators has received over a hundred phone calls about plastic and duct tape," says Noel Howard, Home Depot customer service manager.

It was suggested earlier this week, that Americans could use both products to seal their home, or rooms inside their home, from chemical agents. However, some Hazmat and fire officials believe sealing off a room prematurely could be more dangerous than helpful.

"If you're going to seal a room to the point where a biological agent cannot enter, you're also sealing the room to where it cannot receive an adequate oxygen ventilation supply," says Tyler Fire Chief David Schlottach. "Therefore, you're going to have the potential of depleting the necessary oxygen to sustain and support life in that space."

Plus, by adding plastic, you're adding more flammable material to your home, says Schlottach.

"I don't recommended immediately going out to get duct tape and sealing up a room," says Chief Schlottach. "Instead, have it on hand in case it becomes a necessary thing to do."

Kerri Panchuk, reporting.

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