Company selling body bags sees demand spike amid COVID-19 surge

We talk a lot about businesses hurting during the pandemic. In Laguna Hills, however, a company has increased production of its most popular item: the disaster pouch, known by many as body bags.

The company, Salam International, deals with death. The empty floor in their warehouse suggests how hard it's been to keep up with demand during the pandemic. 

Abdul Salam has been in the business for three decades. He's seen sales go cup for tragedies like 9/11 or disasters like Hurricane Katrina. Last March, New York City placed a massive order, anticipating the need as COVID-19 took hold.

"The demand is so high right now," Salam said. "This is the second wave. We filled up and they're gone again. We're very low right now."

The bags are made in Thailand and sewers are working as fast as they can.

"It's a slow process to make them because it's all handmade so to speak," Salam said.

You may have seen Salam's body bags on TV shows like Law and Order.

"This is an old traditional one," he said.

The bag he pointed to is designed for cadaver storage, but there are 15 other styles in multiple colors, used during situations like homicide investigations or drownings.

Salam doesn't like the word "thriving" to describe his busienss. He knows that each body bag is meant for a person.

"Eventually, it gets you," he said. "I don't think anyone here is very happy to see in the pandemic."

He expects the demand to eventually ease later this year, but will never go away. After all, you come into this world and inevitably, you leave.

Get your top stories delivered daily! Sign up for FOX 11’s Fast 5 newsletter. And, get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.