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Five Myths That Could Get You Killed

Tuesday, June 06, 2017


Myths can be entertaining and sometimes educational, but when they involve the safety of you or your loved ones, a bit of research goes a long way in ensuring that you know and understand the facts! Below are some popular myths that are dead wrong!

Myth # 1. Carrying keys between your fingers are effective defensive deterrents to attack

FACT: Carrying keys between your fingers is believed by many to provide an effective and painful means of deterring an attacker. The rationale behind this myth is that the ragged, and potentially sharp edges of the keys will hurt an attacker when protruding from your fist like the extended claws of a cat or comic book superhero. The problems proponents of this myth ignore is that in order to engage the attacker… you must physically engage the attacker… up close. Bad idea! In these instances, the attacker’s size, strength, and momentum will make deterring the attack difficult, if not impossible. If the attacker is on top of you, the chances of you being able to land a blow against them which will enable you to escape are minimal, which means that you are, unfortunately, more likely to be a victim.  Unless you are a mixed martial artist, you will be relatively helpless against multiple attackers. Additionally, you might seriously injure your hand if you do make contact w/a hard surface such as the attackers’ head.  Those might embed into your palm upon contact – ouch!!  You should always carry a self-defense alternative which allows you to engage a would-be attacker (or attackers) from a distance which allows you to evade and escape the attack BEFORE it becomes a physical altercation.

Myth # 2. The strongest and most effective stun guns produce hundreds of millions of volts 

FACT: This myth is incorrect and dangerous on many levels. Firstly, as the stun gun industry is unregulated by the federal government, there are many grossly exaggerated and unsubstantiated marketing claims in stores and the internet. It is physically impossible for a hand-held stun gun to produce millions and millions of volts. And even if it could, it is NOT volts which cause the intolerable short-term pain which makes a stun gun an effective self-defense tool. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s research, development, and evaluation agency—the NIJ, the National Institute of Justice—the determining factor in judging the pain caused by electrical weapons is not volts, but CHARGE, specifically charged measured in microcoulombs (µC). Many stun guns which market themselves as millions of volts strong only actually produce enough microcoulombs to produce mild pain, and nowhere near the attack-stopping strength their marketing implies. Don’t risk your life on a myth—research what the true strength of a stun gun is before you buy.

Myth # 3. Swimming pool flotational devices are effective lifesaving devices

FACT:  Inner tubes, inflatables, ‘floaties,’ and/or ‘noodles’ are toys and not lifesaving devices. In fact, when you look closely at the packaging and tags of these swim accessories, the words NOT A LIFESAVING DEVICE are prominently displayed. Yet people routinely act as though their inflatable pool novelties are enough to protect non-swimmers in their party at the pool, lake, or ocean. Only U.S. Coast Guard-approved floatation devices are certified to prevent drowning. Devices which have undergone USCG testing are specifically designed to prevent submersion. But even with these devices, parents and friends of children or non-swimmers must still be vigilant. These devices should not to be viewed as anything more than aids. Proper swim training and supervision are the key to water survival, not a colorful inflated cartoon character.

Myth # 4. Wasp spray is as effective as pepper spray for stopping an attacker

FACT:  Wasp sprays are effective for deterring and killing wasps and other insects, however, they are less than effective if you are using them to stop a two-legged attacker. Most wasp sprays contain chemicals called pyrethrins or pyrethroids, which are developed from a species of the chrysanthemum plant. They are designed to affect the nervous system of small creatures like insects and ultimately kill them. There is no research or intended effect on larger animals or humans. In actuality, wasp spray is illegal to use on humans. Pepper sprays, on the other hand, contain capsaicins, the active heat ingredient from cayenne peppers. The major capsaicinoids present in most pepper sprays and pepper gels as capable of temporarily causing extreme pain—along with debilitating involuntary reactions such as forced eye closure, shortness of breath, and momentary disorientation and panic. These effects make it virtually impossible to continue an aggressive assault and will enable a potential victim to evade the attacker and escape. Pepper sprays and pepper gels can be sprayed from a safe distance, and against multiple targets, and many now even contain marking agents such as UV dyes to help ensure an attacker is identifiable later. Pepper sprays and gels allow a potential victim to incapacitate an attacker (regardless of their mental or chemical state) and escape, whereas wasp spray has been shown to be ineffective—barely able to slow an attacker down. 

Myth # 5. Drivers in air bag-equipped vehicles don't need to wear seat belts

FACT: Air bags provide supplemental protection in frontal crashes, but motorists can slide under or around them if they are not wearing a seat belt. In addition, many vehicles do not have airbags designed to help in the event of side or rear impact collisions or rollovers. Motorists should always wear a seat belt for protection in all types of crashes. Additionally, precaution needs to be taken to ensure that children are in proper restraints and child seats for their age and weight, and that they are correctly secured and located in the recommended location in the vehicle.