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Defending yourself? Careful what you spray

By Brittany Weiner
Published On: Mar 08 2013 01:28:29 AM CST

With the recent massacres here in the U.S. many have turned to guns, but for some that lethal option is not one they are willing to make.
NewsChannel 21's Brittany Weiner explains the new trend of using household items to fend off an attacker.

BEND, Ore. -

With the recent massacres here in the U.S. many have turned to guns, but for some that lethal option is not one they are willing to take.

A new trend... using household items to fend off an attacker.

A few comments from a question we posed on our Facebook page...

"I have wasp spray next to my bed. I had an intruder in my hot tub last weekend. Uninvited!"

and: "My hubby just armed me with bear spray this morning! Things huge, but i do feel a tad safer with it."

Bend police Cpl. Elizabeth Lawrence said items such as wasp spray and bear spray may make some feel safer -- but they could end up harming the wrong person -- you.

"Wasp spray, bear spray -- those types of things are not meant for the types of folks that we're talking about, because when you spray them, the wind carries it -- you get it," Lawrence said.

Instead, she says, turn to pepper spray, which is manufactured to irritate rather than poison. She also recommends testing your spray, because there are many different kinds.

"There are some that are a stream, that shoot a little farther out. There are some that are cone patterns. There are some that are foam. So what you need to think about is how far are you from your target," Lawrence said.

"If there's wind blowing and you go to use any of those sprays, the wind could change, and you don't know where that spray's going to land -- could be on you, could be on the person next to you," she explained. "Go to a safe place away from animals, children, people, and you test spray it, to see how the pattern sprays."

Lawrence said not only testing the spray pattern, but testing how you would get to it quickly and under pressure are also key.

"Know where it is, and how to access it. Practice getting it out, so you don't have so much in your purse you can't find it," said Lawrence, since your eyes should be on the person you're confronting -- not in your purse.

Pepper spray is available in many forms, including a key chain canister, making it easier to access.

Pepper spray vendor Tyler Dwight said, "For the convenience factor that this is really lightweight, it's compact. It fits right on the key chain or in the pocket. The wasp spray can be really hindrance, as far as size."

For those who don't feel comfortable carrying pepper spray, Lawrence says your keys, and your car's panic button can be a great defense tool, and a way to scare off an attacker.

There are no restrictions to buy pepper spray in Oregon. If you do own or purchase pepper spray, make sure to check the canister, because they do have expiration dates.


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