Sunday, August 3, 2008

0 Is That Pepper Spray in Your Pocket, Or Are You Just NOT Very Glad to See Me!?! ;-)


OK, personal safety is nothing to joke about. So, this will make my mother happy: I finally bought pocket-sized pepper spray at Metro Run & Walk to replace my really old & relatively humongous-looking defunct Mace canister that I've had for several years.

Since I'm frequently running with Erik, he's normally my assault deterrent. ;-) With his big & broad, muscle-y, athletic build, he's rather intimidating-looking, & most people with any sort of sense will usually take one look at him & not want to mess with him!

But it's really not always about physical strength; a person with a weapon will quickly level the playing field. (Frankly, just talking about this stuff on my blog just creeps me out!)

Also, I do realize there are going to be moments when Erik won't be there to protect me, so I decided that it was about time to take some extra safety precautions, just in case.

One's martial arts skills & knowledge certainly come in handy, but defending oneself with pepper spray allows a person to keeping a certain distance from one's attacker.

Of course, once you buy a self-defense product like mace or pepper spray, it's a good idea to test out your product to make sure it works. Now, I'm talking about testing it out on some unwitting passerby. ;-) I'm talking about testing the canister to make sure the unit's contents are full & functional. This usually involves a "float test" in which you place the pepper spray canister in a bowl of water to see if one end breaks the surface. If it rises to the surface & breaks the water line, then you've obviously got a dud unit & should get it replaced as soon as possible. And, if by chance, you are wondering how to actually remove the canister from the unit, most units come with detailed instructions demonstrating how to do this.

So that's what I did. Because of course no one wants to be in a situation in which you've got pepper spray, but then find out too late that it doesn't work! (Also, on this note, if you've had your unit for a while, it's still important to test it out every so often to make sure it's still functional.)

(And as I discovered, it's also not a bad idea to test out the release mechanism as well. But more on that in a bit.....)

So, today I did the "float test" to make sure the pepper spray canister was working. Of course I read the directions for the test, & was crossing my fingers that the canister would be in good working order. Because I really didn't want to have to go back to the store & waste more gasoline getting a bum unit replaced.

Well, guess what happened? One end floated up & broke the surface.

So I called the really nice guys that work at Metro Run & Walk, & they recommended I go & test the release mechanism first (by spraying the unit into the ground somewhere to see if it actually works); they said they'd be happy to give me a free replacement if the unit failed this second test.

I was a bit reluctant to test it out, because I'd never actually done a live test before. Of course, it was important to make sure there wasn't a crosswind during the test. ;-) So I walked into a remote field & sprayed the unit into the ground. Thankfully, it worked!

Anyhow, if any of you are looking for recommendations for a good pepper spray, I'd probably still recommend the product I bought, because of its size & ease of use. It fits nicely into a small pocket & also has a detachable key chain ring. The brand name of the unit I bought is called "Spitfire." Here's the website for those interested persons.

Anyhow, I just wanted to point out the key importance of this safety issue for runners. Aside from using common sense to keep yourself out of harm's way, it's still important to take precautions to protect yourself during your runs. Of course, I hope that none of you will ever have to put in a situation like this, but of course it's much better to be safe than sorry!

Please run safely, & if you don't already have pepper spray, please consider buying it for your own protection. Thanks! (Gee, I feel like I'm doing some kind of PSA -- Yes, it's Cyberpenguin the Safety Penguin!)


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