Pepper Spray – Everything you Need to Know

Pepper spray is a non-lethal irritant that is scientifically referred to as Oleoresin Capsicum. Caspian is the primary irritant in pepper spray and,  is extracted from – you guessed it – red hot chilli peppers! It’s also used in creams and gels to relieve joint and muscle pain although, our very famous Deep Heat and Arnica Gel brands, don’t contain it.

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Pepper spray also consists of water and alcohol, as well as some form of propelling agent/s such as; nitrogen, carbon dioxide or halogenated hydrocarbons. The dangers of exposure to pepper spray or, Caspian, is well documented and this study published by C. Gregory Smith, MD, MPH, and Woodhall Stopford, MD, will take you through some of the health hazards of Caspian exposure. These include everything from skin blistering and burns to airway edema and respiratory arrest.

This is what the Caspian Element looks like:

Capsaicin_200


Can Pepper Spray Kill You?

ambulanceYes – there have been multiple reports of death, most notably, death in children as a result of respiratory arrest following accidental exposure to pepper spray. I’m not going to lecture anyone about this and, it’s not the subject of this article but, if you have children and, you can’t store the peppery spray away with 100% certainty that your children will not be able to reach it, don’t buy it or keep it.


Is Using Pepper Spray Legal in South Africa?

klossstengerlotempiolawYes it’s legal – selling, buying and carrying pepper spray is not illegal but, if you use it to cause intentional harm to someone who does not pose an immediate danger or threat to you or to someone around you – you can and, probably will be, prosecuted for assault. The victim may also institute a civil claim against you to claim damages in the form of medical bills. As long as you are acting in the protection of your own or somebody else’s life, physical integrity, property or other legally recognised interest – the perpetrator will have no grounds on which to take any form of legal action against you. Also, according to the law, the threat of harm must already have begun or be immediately threatening and must also not possibly be averted in any other (less harmful) way. Another requirement is that the act of defence may not be out of proportion to the interest threatened by the act. These legal requirements can get complicated but there’s no situation which I can think of where using pepper to protect yourself or your property would lead to any legal issues. Shooting someone who is trying to steal your phone may be seen as “out of proportion” but, using pepper spray would be completely justified.


How long would it take for the effects of pepper spray to wear off?

USMC-09850If sprayed correctly and, directly into an attackers eyes, the most sever effects of blindness, excruciating pain, swelling, nausea, and disorientation will last for at least 45 minutes. By this time I’d expect that you’d be long gone or, have the attacker subdued and the police in route. That being said, the after effects can last up to a week – particularly if it has been sprayed directly into someone’s eyes from a very close distance (1m).


Pepper Spray for Self-defence

While pepper spray may be seen as an enemy by protesters around the world – in South Africa it’s just another one of the many self-defence tools we have at our disposal to fight back against sexual assault, robbery and even a smash and grab incident. Pepper spray is a fantastic self-defence weapon that will disable and disorientate a would-be attacker or intruder.

When sprayed in the eyes and face it will cause temporary blindness, sever pain, burning, nausea, coughing and will make it difficult to breath. It’s relatively inexpensive and can be purchased from almost any security shop. Many low-cost, no-name brands have a very high failure rate and can land you in a very dangerous situation. SecurityPro stocks only the highest quality pepper sprays and self-defense gadgets, visit our shop if you’re looking for pepper spray that will never fail, break, leak or let you down when you need it.

You should consider if you are properly prepared psychologically to use pepper spray – in high stress situations many people freeze up and are unable to act – by preparing yourself by visualising a variety  of situations you could break that barrier and become prepared.

The problem is that in most cases people forget and even misplace the pepper spray since they very likely don’t encounter many occasions that warrant it’s use and then when a serious situation develops they either don’t know where they’ve put it or can’t get to it fast enough. Don’t be another one of those people – if you buy it keep it on you and make sure you know how to use it. It may help to purchase a practice pepper spray canister, and use it to get develop the muscle memory and confidence to use the real thing when you need to. 


How to use Pepper Spray

If you buy pepper spray YOU MUST learn how to use it correctly and actually keep it in your hand, on your keys or somewhere that you can easily get to it in an emergency. This means that you must familiarise yourself with holding the can and picture how and, when, you would use it. 


VERY IMPORTANT

  1. Do not attempt to use pepper spray against a firearm
  2. Do not attempt to use pepper spray during a home invasion – there are usually more than one robber and the robbers are already in your home where they can use deadly force without the risk of being seen
  3. If you do not use the pepper spray correctly you may make the situation worse
  4. Here are some important points to consider:
      • They type of pepper spray (stream or jet, mist or fog or foam and gel)
      • The range of the pepper spray (usually 3 meters)
      • How to arm and disarm the canister
      • The number of sprays – good to know for multiple attackers
      • How often you should replace the pepper spray – usually every 12 – 16 months since the plastic head and nozzle tends to wear
      • How to correctly grip the canister of pepper spray – you must use your entire hand to grip the can and your thumb must be propped on top, ready to spray
      • How to use your thumb to spray and not your index finger
      • How to spray an attacker – (across the eyes in a horizontal motion in the case of a gel or jet and vertically from the top of the head to the mouth in the case of a gas but, in an emergency either would suffice as long at the eyes are hit)

Who Should Buy and Keep Pepper Spray?

The short answer is – anyone who wants an effective yet non-lethal weapon to use to defend themselves and their families. Here are some scenarios where keeping a canister of pepper spray would make sense:

  • If you’re single and live alone, having a canister of pepper spray in your nightstand drawer may save your life.
  • Teenage girls and women can keep a canister in their handbags or on a set of keys to use as self-defence in a wide range of situations.
  • To keep a canister in your vehicle to use for self-defence when driving alone or with the family.
  • You can keep one with you when travelling and staying in a hotel.
  • Joggers, hikers and cyclists can keep a canister on their person.
  • Campers and people walking in wooded and/or secluded areas such as fields and beaches.
  • People who work in high-risk areas can keep one on their person for self-defence.
  • Families can have a canister strategically placed in the home – if someone attempts to break in you may just be able to pepper spray them through a window.
  • Security personnel who are not licensed to carry a weapon may carry pepper spray.

Most people buy pepper spray with good intentions but, unfortunately, don’t properly prepare themselves to be able to access and, USE IT, in a critical life or death situation. This video illustrate the proper use of pepper spray and will tell you how to mentally prepare yourself for using it.



What to do if you’ve been exposed to pepper spray – ACCIDENTAL PEPPER SPRAY EXPOSURE FIRST AID

  1. Remove your contact lenses or any clothes that were exposed IMMEDIATELY
  2. Do not touch or rub the affected area and keep blinking to increase eye moisture and help wash out the pepper spray
  3. Fill up your sink or a bucket with cool water, add a generous amount of baby shampoo or any mild soap – dunk your face in the soapy water and then rinse it off under a tap or shower head – repeat this MULTIPLE times – DO NOT rub, scrub or touch the area – dunk and rinse!
  4. Use a saline solution to wash your eyes out – a saline solution is water mixed with a small amount of salt (about one cup of purified water and half-a-teaspoon of table salt) which mimics tears, blood and other bodily fluids
  5. Pour cool full cream milk onto a towel and place this over the eyes of affected area
  6. Use an ice pack – this will help reduce the pain and swelling

If you’ve been exposed to pepper spray your first instinct might be to rub your face or rinse the pepper spray with water – both of these will make your situation worse. Pepper spray is an oil based solution and water will no help you in washing it away. Rubbing the area will simply rub the solution into your skin and eyes and increase the pain.

If a child has been exposed call an ambulance or take them to a hospital so that they can wash the child’s eyes out and provide them with oxygen and other medical treatment if necessary.

Saline solutions can be bought from a pharmacy but you can also make it at home but you must boil the water first, then add the salt and let it cool to room temperature before use.

36 thoughts on “Pepper Spray – Everything you Need to Know

      1. Was illegally pepper sprayed by police on the 26th May 2019, twice I was sprayed on close range and I posed no danger whatsoever to them, what legal methods to take to lay charges against them, my eyes still sore and painful, am experiencing double vision as up today, please advise.

      2. 5 Offences
        Any person who-
        (a) manufactures in or imports into the Republic any tear-gas or any
        article used or intended to be used for releasing tear-gas otherwise
        than under the authority of or in accordance with the restrictions or
        conditions stated in a permit issued under section two;
        (b) is in possession of tear-gas or any article used or intended to be used
        for releasing tear-gas in contravention of the provisions of section
        three or, in the case of a person entitled to be in possession thereof by
        virtue of any permission granted under that section, fails to observe
        any restriction or condition attached to such permission;
        (c) hinders, obstructs or delays any other person in the exercise of his
        powers under this Act,
        is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction-
        (i) in the case of an offence referred to in paragraph (a) or (b), to a fine not
        exceeding eight hundred rand or in default of payment to
        imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or to both such fine
        and such imprisonment or to such imprisonment without the option of
        a fine;

  1. Many thanks for helping people get the information they need. Good stuff as always. Keep up the great work!!!

  2. I’ve discovered a lot of useful info on your website particularly this page. Thank you for posting.

    1. My child of 15 years and her friends, my daughter Is pepper-sprayed by police today by 17:55 straight in her eyes she can’see anything, we currently at the hospital wait to enter to doctors room, she’s been crying they sprayed her on close range through their police Van windows as they were passing them waiting for a car to pass for them to cross to the shop and children posed no danger whatsoever to them, what legal methods to take to lay charges against them, please advise.

  3. Good post, I enjoyed it very much.I was really lucky to discover your website. There’s a lot of helpful info!

    1. So if we can’t use pepper spray in an home invasion what else can we do to try protect us special if our kids are still small. I know fist option is to get out but if you blocked or can’t get to everyone what do you do.

  4. My concern was is it legal in South Africa. Can the perpetrator use it against me in a Court of law. The tips were of great help. Hope I never have to use it.

    1. Hi Michael,

      As long as you are acting in the protection of your own or somebody else’s life, physical integrity, property or other legally recognised interest – the perpetrator will have no grounds on which to take any form of legal action against you. Also, according to the law the threat of harm must already have begun or be immediately threatening and must also not be averted in any other way. Another requirement is that the act of defence may not be out of proportion to the interest threatened by the act. These legal requirements can get complicated but there is no situation which I can think of where using pepper to protect yourself or your property would lead to any legal issues. Shooting someone who is trying to steal your phone may be seen as “out of proportion” but, using pepper spray would be completely justified.

      Regards,
      Alex

      1. This page is very informative.keep up the good work.I supply pepper sprays at factory price if you take more than 10.

        1. Can you provide me with your contact details please. I would like to buy a large quantity for ladies in our community.

      2. I need a pepper spray. Am from Soweto. I think it will help me protect myself since i work up to late hours and also leave home in early hours. I just don’t know where could find 1

        1. Can you provide me with your contact details please. I would like to buy a large quantity for ladies in our community.

  5. Meeste van die tyd het reageer ‘n mens nie altyd in tyd nie, maar ek hou my pepper spray in my kar. Ek Sal definitief dit gebruik vir as iets gebeur soos ‘n ‘smash en grab’ of wat my veiligheid bedreig.

  6. Excellent article. Was concerned about law in SA, but this cleated it up. As a female jogger definitely getting pepper spray

  7. I just moved to Cape Town and I am appalled at the how the frequency and almost normalcy of sexual harassment be it cat-calling or actual touching of our bodies that my friends and I have experienced. I am honestly fed up and as a woman in this type of culture I feel helpless since in the eyes of the law and general public this is only recently being taken seriously. I had an incident where a homeless guy touched my butt and after using the most colourful and threatening language I could muster up in those 5 seconds
    I walked away feeling completely violated and helpless. This is when I found this article and decided to purchase mace. Would this be justifiable in a court of law? Thank you for this article.

  8. Hello, I’d like to know if I can have a pepper spray in my luggage in the airport, coming fton Europe. Thank you.

  9. What if these pepper sprays also came with a built in emergency panic button, to make it an even more effective weapon

  10. I use pepper spray on my abusive and violent husband but the problem is that my young adult son and daughter also get affected by the pepper spray and so do I we all cough uncontrollably and cannot breathe please help

  11. Hello. The Everything you Need to Know about Pepper Spray in South Africa article is very
    well written and useful.
    I was wondering: What do you say about this survival product,
    is it worth it or not?
    🙂 Thank you!

  12. Hey guys, just got my 3 in one escape tool and pepper gel, its awesomeeeeeeeeeeee!!! Baie dankie julle

  13. Ordered yesterday morning, Ram delivered this afternoon, that’s super fast deliver, thanks a ton, feel safer while jogging and while at home, things gettin crazeeee in SA

    1. Hi Darryl,

      Great question! I always advise people to avoid cheap brands (those that you can purchase from R40 to R120). These products are poorly manufactured, are not tested, and are likely to fail, leak or simply not be effective against an attacker.

      Our range of pepper sprays and gels are manufactured in the US by Sabre, adhere to the highest safety and quality standards and remove the 30% failure rates associated with other brands.

      That said, canisters must be stored according to instructions as per the package and must not be punctured. If you have any other questions, please feel free to give us a call or send us an email, we’re always glad to help!

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