Homeland Security experts this week suggested Americans could use duct tape and plastic sheeting to set up a “safe room” within their home in case of biological attack. Do-it-yourself stores in big cities promptly reported they were swamped with customers getting disaster supplies. In Iowa, Carol Mayo works at a True-Value Hardware store in Bettendorf. She hasn’t seen a surge in demand, and thinks places we’ve seen on TV like New York may have people who are more nervous about attacks, having experienced one. Mayo says there are certainly things that make people run right on down to the store for supplies — usually after a weather forecast. Salt, she says, and sometimes snow shovels, bring people in to the store to buy it all up before they run out. Mayo says she does think Iowans are more security-conscious than they were before terrorism and war became part of the daily news. She won’t give details, but thinks people definitely seem more conscientious about things that “seem out of line” though they don’t panic about it. For people considering going out for duct tape and plastic, she advises checking to see if they have it on hand, and thinks a woman on TV with a shopping-cart full was indulging in “overkill.” Mayo says people will do whatever they feel comfortable with. Mayo’s manager of the paint department at the Tru-Valu Hardware Store in Bettendorf.
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