Pepper Spray Safety

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Pepper Spray has proven to be an effective self defense weapon when used properly. This guide will provide information on the safe use of pepper spray.
Select the Correct Type of Pepper Spray for your Situation
Fogger
   
The fogger pepper spray typically have a higher pressure so they can achieve adequate distance, but tend to have less distance then the stream sprayers. They cover a wider area making them easy to aim and are more effective when used against a group of attackers or an animal. Because they cover a wider area, they deliver less volume per area making their strike less concentrated. They are highly effected by wind and should not be sprayed directly into the wind. They should not be used indoors unless necessary. They are usually more expensive than other options.
Stream
   
These pepper sprayers offer longer distance than other sprays. They deliver a high volume to a small area giving a concentrated strike. They are more difficult to aim and are somewhat effected by wind. They are usually the least expensive option.
Gel
   
Pepper spray is now available in a Gel formulation. This is a sticky pepper spray making it harder to remove and more effective when used in the rain. It's a heavy liquid, usually under higher pressure, giving it the longest distance stream. It doesn't contaminate the air like a fogger, or to a lesser extent, like the stream or spatter sprayers. This allows it to be used safely indoors. Because of it's advanced features, it is a more expensive option.
Foam
   
Foam pepper spray is delivered in a stream however, it contains a foaming agent that causes the pepper spray to spread on contact. Because of it's spreading action, accuracy is less critical. It has a distance similar to a stream sprayer and is effected somewhat by wind. It's foaming action can be effective when used against someone wearing glasses or goggles as it will coat the lenses.
Splatter
   
This pepper sprayer is similar to the stream sprayer but delivers more volume per burst. For this reason, they will have fewer bursts per ounce. However, the higher volume will provide a more concentrated strike. Their distance is a little less than the stream sprayers, but they are less effected by wind. They are a cost effective option.
Safety Tips on the use of pepper spray
Be Prepared:
   
Be aware of your surroundings so that you can anticipate the need for pepper spray. For example, if you are walking through a high crime neighborhood, you see a suspicious person following you, you hear an animal growl, or you are alone at night in a dark area. In these situations, keep your pepper spray in your hand and ready to use. If you keep pepper spray on your key ring or in a holster, you should remove it now. When you are holding the sprayer in your hand with your finger on the trigger, be sure you know which way it will spray! You should also be aware of the wind direction. If you have had the pepper spray for awhile without using it, this would be a good time for a quick test to be sure it still has pressure.
After using your pepper spray:
   
If your attacker is an animal, most often the animal will retreat or at least break off it's attack. While the animal is reacting to the pepper spray, slowly back away, but be ready to use the pepper spray again if necessary. Most animal attacks are a result of the animal defending it's territory and once you are outside it's territory, it will no longer consider you a threat. If you turn and run, the animal may regain it's courage and pursue you.
    If your attacker is a human, results are less predictable. The top priority of most attackers after a direct hit to the face is to find fresh water to get relief from the pepper spray. If the attacker is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may attempt to continue the attack however, they will be severely disadvantaged. In those cases, you should be able to escape to a lighted area where other people are nearby. If that is not possible, you will have to defend yourself against a partially blind, coughing, choking attacker making it easier to further disable the attacker with a stun stun, club, your fists, or your feet.   
    If you are confronted by multiple attackers, make sure you spray at least one of them, the leader if possible. Most likely, the others will come to the aid of the sprayed victim allowing you to escape. Once the other attackers see the results of the pepper spray, they may not risk being sprayed themselves.
What to do if you are sprayed:
   
If you get pepper spray in your eyes, you will experience an extreme burning sensation. Immediately rinse your eyes with fresh cool water. If the burning persists or gets worse, seek medical attention. Never rub your eyes!
    If you get pepper spray on your face or hands, wash with a mild soap.  Pepper spray can be easily transferred. If you have pepper spray on your hands, do not touch your face. Avoid touching your face for at least an hour after washing your hands. Lemon juice can help neutralize the pepper spray on your hands.
    If pepper spray is discharged inside or spilled from a leaky sprayer, you may notice burning eyes, scratchy throat, and runny nose. If this happens, open windows and doors to get fresh air circulating in the room. It may take a few hours for the air to completely clear.
How to Use Your Pepper Spray:
   
What makes pepper spray an effective weapon is that it allows you to keep a safe distance from your attacker. You should maximize this distance by holding your arm extended when you use the sprayer. It provides a longer distance spray, helps you aim more accurately, and minimizes blow back. Whether your attacker is a person or an animal, aim for the face. If you make a direct hit to the eyes, the attacker will be temporarily blinded allowing you to safely escape. If you strike the face but miss the eyes, the attacker's eyes will still burn. It will be difficult to see and difficult to breath making the attacker less dangerous.
    If you have a small volume sprayer, spray in short bursts. This conserves pepper spray and if you miss, you can make a correction on the next shot. If you have a large volume sprayer, spray a continuous discharge moving your aim as necessary to get a direct strike to the face and eyes.
    Sometimes you can avoid a confrontation by warning the attacker that you have pepper spray and are about to use it. Hold it out towards the attacker and shout, "I have pepper spray, don't come any closer or you will be sprayed"!  Many people are aware of the sever pain it causes and will choose to move on to a more defenseless victim.
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