Tags: Survival | Sales | Take | Off

Survival Sales Take Off

Monday, 24 September 2001 12:00 AM

When people were preparing for Y2K, there were gradual sales of things like gas masks, Mylar emergency blankets and medical guides -- just in case.

But in the days since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Cable's American Science and Surplus has been doing big business in survival items.

"We're sold out of gas masks," Cable told United Press International Monday. "Primarily we sell them for costumes for Halloween or to military memorabilia collectors. They work for tear gas but they're not the sort of things you'd wear for chemical warfare or germ warfare. We tell people that but they want them anyway.

"There's a lot of uncertainty out there. People are looking for anything they can do to increase safety.

The Bank of Tokyo reports U.S. sales of food, candles, propane fuel and packaged goods have soared since the terrorist attacks, though all the American Red Cross recommends for a family survival kit is pepper spray for defense plus a week's supply of basics like water, food and simple medical supplies.

Since the attacks, Cable said he's sold thousands of American flags, as well as leather gloves, safety goggles and sleeping bags, which were donated to rescue operations.

Cable said normally he sells one or two gas masks a week off his Web site, sciplus.com, but this weekend alone, he sold 70.

"We're waiting for another order of 200 to come in," he said. "All surplus dealers are scrambling."

Cable said he got an inquiry Monday morning from a guy asking about the steel aircraft cabling.

"He wants to construct a device to lower himself out of his apartment window," Cable said.

"I've never seen such a buildup. Sales overall have been down, really slow since the incident. A lot of sales now appear to be coming from people setting up emergency kits - Mylar blankets for the car, solar powered and wind-up radios for winter storms. They're setting themselves up with care packages," he said. "There's a lot of uncertainty about foreign policy in the next few months."

"People know something will happen. They just don't know what," Phil Farlow, owner of the Army & Navy Surplus store in Greensboro, N.C., told the Greensboro News and Record.

Farlow said there has been a run on gas masks, with 100 he had on hand before the terrorist attacks long gone.

"We usually sell two a week, mostly to people who are spray painting or at Halloween, people buy them to dress up," he said.

He's also out of water purification tablets.

In Hackensack, N.J., S-4 Military Surplus and Supplies said it also is sold out of gas masks and has 300 people on a waiting list for more.

Tony Tanner, president of Kejo, an online seller of police and military equipment told USA Today his gas mask sales have increased from about 100 a month to 1,000.

The online military and hunting-supply site CheaperThanDirt.com reports a 500 percent increase in sales, with the biggest sellers ammunition, ready-to-eat military-style meals and long-lasting candles.

"The fear is out there," Bryan Nelson told USA Today. Nelson owns TheEpicenter.com, another on-line military surplus store. He said sales of $50 solar-powered radios, wind-up flashlights and water purification tables have been especially brisk.

Roll Call reports protective masks have been readily accessible to lawmakers in the Capitol for about a year in the case of a chemical or germ warfare attack.

Hot sales of survival gear are not limited to the United States. Israelis are reported updating their gas masks and Britons are not only buying gas masks, but also protective suits and NATO rations as well.

As people try to rebuild their personal sense of security, security firms report increased sales of home security systems and some gun shops report a 50 percent increase in sales.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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When people were preparing for Y2K, there were gradual sales of things like gas masks, Mylar emergency blankets and medical guides -- just in case. But in the days since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Cable's American Science and...
Survival,Sales,Take,Off
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2001-00-24
Monday, 24 September 2001 12:00 AM
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