Local News

Durham Leaders Outline Plans To Keep Residents Safe

Posted March 20, 2003

— In Durham, both the city and its residents are not wasting any time to prepare for any reprecussions in the war against Iraq.

Durham city leaders want to assure the public they are ready for anything. Police Chief Steve Chalmers said he has talked to the FBI about possible targets.

"There is no specific info, which indicates that there is a potential target in the city of Durham or anyplace else in the state of North Carolina," Chalmers said.

Mayor Bill Bell said they have stepped up security at several public facilities. He said Durham residents can help by keeping their eyes and ears open, but at the same time, remember the basic principles upon which the country was founded.

"I call upon each person to respect the rights and beliefs of others. I expect our citizens to refrain from religious intolerance," Bell said.

Bell encourages residents to make a family emergency plan complete with supplies, and many residents have already begun to do that. Bill Pittman said his medical supply store has seen a big increase in business lately. He said sales of nitrile gloves have doubled.

"It resists chemicals and I guess people are afraid of a chemical war, so they're buying these gloves," he said.

Surgical masks are also hot sellers, even though Pittman said they will not protect you against biological or chemical weapons. He said no rinse shampoo and body wash are also flying off the shelves, along with antiseptic hand wipes.

Bell said one of the most important things citizens can do is remain calm and go about their business as usual.


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