Have you ever been in a situation where you wished you had a personal self-defense item? Self defense products can come in handy for college students, night shift workers, nurses or anyone who is concerned about personal safety.
Pepper spray is one of the most commonly used personal security products. Also referred to as an OC or capsicum spray, it is a very effective inflammatory agent that can easily irritate the eyes and result in pain, temporary blindness, and tears. It is an organic based agent that comes from cayenne peppers. The spray will normally come in canister form, which is often times small enough to be carried in your pocket or in a woman’s purse.
Pepper spray has the following effects on an attacker:
- Eyes – Tearing, closing or complete closing due to dilation of the eye capillaries. Eyes will usually appear red/bloodshot for 30 to 60 minutes. People wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses will be equally affected.
- Respiratory System – Inflammation with swelling of throat lining which can restrict the airway size. Respiratory functions return back to normal within 10 to 45 minutes. The reduction in airflow will probably prevent the person from receiving enough oxygen to continue any sustained physical activity. The attacker could also experience uncontrollable coughing, gasping for air and a gagging sensation in the throat.
- Skin – Attacker will experience inflammation of the exposed skin with a burning sensation
- Muscle Coordination – Pepper spray exposure may cause a person to lose balance due to effect of spray on vision
How Do I Use Pepper Spray Against An Attacker?
When approached by an attacker, place the pepper spray in your dominant hand. Keep your non-shooting hand stretched out in front of you to keep distance from the attacker. Aim and spray towards the attacker’s face while moving backwards away from them. At the same time, yell, “HELP” or “RAPE” or “FIRE” as loud as you can so that attention is immediately drawn to your situation. Continue spraying or be ready to spray until the attacker has stopped advancing. When you have a chance, get away as fast as you can and contact the police immediately!
How Can I Be Sure That My Pepper Spray Will Work?
You should get in the habit of testing your defense spray every 90 days. To do this, first go outside and determine the direction the wind is blowing. Remember to always stand upwind from the direction you are spraying. Depress the firing mechanism for 1/2 second. This test should be performed upon purchase and every 90 days after that. Be aware that every time you test your spray you reduce the contents of the canister. If you are using a key chain model and you test regularly, you will need to replace the unit every 9 to 12 months if you follow the recommended testing procedure above.
Is Using a Spray Legal?
In most states, pepper spray is legal to possess and carry. You should check with your local law enforcement office to determine any regulations your state may have. There are states where pepper spray is legal but there may be size, age or concentration restrictions.
Is There Any Place Where I Cannot Carry My Spray?
Yes. You cannot carry pepper spray aboard a commercial aircraft. This is a Federal crime that can carry up to a $25,000 fine. It is OK to carry pepper spray in your checked baggage although it is advisable that you notify the ticketing agent when you check your baggage. Also, due to heightened security concerns, you may have issues when taking pepper spray into secured locations such as Federal or State buildings.