An Ounce Of Prevention

Nona Snyder puts plastic up in her home in Connecticut as a precaution against terrorist attacks.
In Connecticut, Nona Snyder is following directions from homeland security to a "T," reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Axelrod. She's covering her windows in plastic to protect against a biological attack.

So is Mary Zarinko in New Jersey. She's packing survival bags for her family with food, first aid equipment, clothing and something to pass the time.

"I do a little knitting, so I threw my knitting in and Tom reads a lot so I took a book out," she said.

At one hardware store in Atlanta sales of duct tape up are up 400%.

"Better safe than sorry," said one shopper.

And at a survival store in Manhattan, they had been selling 10 gas masks a day. This week they've already sold 400.

When you come into a store like that there is no question about the urgency being felt across America. Where there is a question about, is whether arming Americans with duct tape and plastic sheeting will actually make a difference.

"In most scenarios the specific use of duct tape and plastic sheeting is probably not going to be effective," said biological weapons expert Michael Moody.

He says while everyone is running around getting all these survival items, there's one thing they can't lose: perspective on the threat.

"It seems to me if people are worried about their safety and their personal health, the things that they should be doing are stop smoking, wear their seatbelt and not drink and drive," he said.

Maybe so, but Nona Snyder is still playing it safe.

"Maybe people can criticize, but you know -- if there's that ounce -- that inch of maybe, then why not do it?" she said continuing to wrap her windows.

These days are less about pricing an ounce of prevention, then being too late for a pound of cure.