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National

'New Yorker' Article Sparks Upsurge In Earthquake Survival Kit Sales

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

If Radio had headlines, this next story would be "Panic In The Pacific Northwest."

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The cause of concern is a recent article in the New Yorker Magazine titled "The Really Big One."

SIEGEL: With this subtitle - an earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal northwest. The question is when.

BLOCK: The article claimed a 9.0 earthquake is overdue. It would be followed by a tsunami, and life as we know it on the Oregon and Washington coasts will pretty much be wiped out.

SIEGEL: The New Yorker also says the region is under prepared. Well, people there are trying to make up for that, according to the Seattle Times. There has been a run on personal survival kits.

STEVE O'DONNELL: Last week, we probably did three or four months' worth of business in just one week. Yesterday and today, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday - each day has been basically almost a full month's worth of business.

BLOCK: Steve O'Donnell is CEO of American Preparedness based in Seattle. The company makes and sells a variety of kits, all sizes, shapes and colors.

O'DONNELL: Our two most popular that are selling like hotcakes, really, is the four-person backpack and that takes care of four people for three days, and our rolling cart is two person for seven days.

BLOCK: And there's a lot in those kits, including food, thermal blankets, ponchos, light sticks.

SIEGEL: Flashlights, matches, a tarp.

BLOCK: Hygiene supplies, two whistles, a pry bar...

SIEGEL: Even coloring books for the kids.

BLOCK: O'Donnell says the American Preparedness motto is, we hope you never have to use our products. But he adds...

O'DONNELL: Get ready. Be ready, and stay ready, kind of like a good Boy or Girl Scout.

SIEGEL: That four-person, three-day kit will set you back $139.99, but good Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts could probably make their own. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.