Pepper Spray and the Police

Is Pepper Spray effective? The largest police department in the US thinks so. The NYPD issues it to its 35,000-plus sworn officers. Countrywide it's the first weapon an officer uses against an unruly perp. The TASER is next, and as a last resort, the service pistol may be deployed. Records indicate that many times the first response is the only one needed. The USPS has 300,000 mail carriers and those that might come in contact with dogs are issued Pepper Spray.

The active ingredient in Pepper Spray is Oleoresin Capsicum, OC, which is completely organic and is derived from cayenne pepper. The resins of other chili peppers may be used as well. The pepper derivatives are highly refined for maximum effectiveness. The pepper is carried in a non-active ingredient such as water or oil. The product is dispensed from an aerosol canister. Various sizes are available ranging from 1/2 ounce to several ounces. When attacked, victims can spray the product directly into the face of the attacker. Pepper spray is an inflammatory agent. The result will be temporary blindness, burning, pain, inflammation, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms are temporary and no permanent damage should result. The duration of its full effect will be an average of around thirty to forty-five minutes, with lesser effects lasting for hours.

Bear Spray and Dog Spray are specially formulated for defense against these animals. Pepper Spray should be standard equipment for any walker, jogger or bicyclist. Every woman, every young girl, every elderly person should have Pepper Spray readily available at all times, in case of attacks by animals or human predators. Many prefer spray over mist or fog. Spray is less likely to be deflected back at the user by wind. Users should be careful not to get the spray in their own eyes. Also be aware that no matter how careful the user is it is likely she will have pepper spray residue on her hands. She must not rub her eyes until she has thoroughly washed her hands with soapy water.

Non-lethal deterrents may not be 100% capable of stopping an assailant. You should always have escape as plan number one. Be sure your attacker is within range of your spray-10 feet or less on average. Aim for the eyes, spray, back up and spray again. Each spray should last about one second. Don't press the button and hold it. You will soon be out of spray. Short, one second bursts let you see where the spray is hitting your attacker and how much you have to re-aim. When the spray has hit your attacker in the face you should run from the scene. Don't stop to call 911. Wait until you are safe.

It's recommended you purchase inert (no active ingredient) sprays to use to practice your aim. Don't hold your arm straight out in front of you. Your attacker may be able to knock the spray from your hand. Hold the spray close to your body. Shoot. Re-aim. Shoot again. Be prepared to leave the scene.

Be Aware. Be Safe.

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