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BUSINESS : Quake a Boon to Vendors of Safety Devices


Until this week's wake-up call, business had been horribly slow for Steve Sanders, an Arcadia entrepreneur who prepares homes for earthquakes by anchoring everything from figurines to furniture.

"Until (Tuesday) I'd done two houses in the last eight months," said Sanders, who also works as a special-effects technician for television and film.

He started his home-based earthquake preparedness business, called Quakeprep, shortly after finishing work on a 1990 NBC miniseries called "The Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake."

"Some have tried to take this line of business large-scale, but I think they've all gone bankrupt because in this state people only get concerned about earthquakes right after they happen," Sanders said.

Since Monday's quake, his business phone has been ringing again as anxiety reigns over disaster preparedness. Business hasn't been this good for Sanders since the 1991 Sierra Madre quake.

The phones also have been ringing nonstop at the Pasadena office of one of Sanders' suppliers, Q-Safety, which manufactures and sells fastening devices to anchor household and workplace furniture and computer equipment.

"We've had more reports of televisions falling over in homes than anything else," said owner Tom Rundberg.

Q-Safety caters mainly to the needs of corporations, providing equipment and service to secure costly computer equipment and file cabinets.

Workers from one of Rundberg's local customers, the Department of Water and Power, were buying more fasteners Tuesday morning to secure equipment purchased after Rundberg completed anchoring the department's computer equipment and other valuables in September.

Another customer, Marty Motia, disaster preparedness chairwoman of the Paradise Canyon Elementary School in La Canada Flintridge, was buying straps Tuesday to hold down a dozen computers the school recently purchased.

During the quake, Motia said, four of the new computers were knocked off a table and damaged. Other computers at the school had been secured with Q-Safety fasteners, some of which employ Velcro straps. School administrators had told Motia to delay buying straps for the new ones because security locks had been ordered for them.

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