Friday, December 5, 2008

Want to buy Mace? Here's what you need to know.

Before pepper spray, there was Mace: a chemical self defense product that people referred to by name. They didn't really think about what was in it, assumed that it was some formula called "Mace," or that it was an acronym for some special combination of chemicals. Now that people buy pepper spray as a standard chemical self defense tool, some people ask: "What happened to good old Mace?"

In fact, Mace is a brand name owned by Mace Security International, and has attached its name to an evolving line of self defense and animal repellent products. The old Mace was 1% CN tear gas dissolved in a mix of chemicals. CN gas is . . . not fun. It was originally developed during the First and Second World Wars and used in Vietnam. It's a lachrymatory agent (meaning that it causes tears) and irritant prone to inflicting toxic effects on susceptible individuals.

Most modern Mace is actually pepper spray: a substance that, when used properly, has more stable, predictable effects while maintaining excellent "stopping power" against most aggressors. We sell it as a separate category because the Mace brand is synonymous with quality. The company has excellent manufacturing standards and excels at making pepper spray (and its sticky cousin, pepper gel) that's easy to use. The company leads the way in designing ergonomic delivery systems - that means their sprays are easy to hold and aim. You can also buy dog repellent under the Mace brand that has the same great characteristics. And if you want a bit more "punch," Mace Triple Action Spray combines pepper spray, the old-style CN gas and dye to mark an assailant, making later pickup by the police much easier.

Like all sprays and other self defense products, you should check on local laws to make sure you buy products permissible under state law. Don't go looking for laws about "mace," since this can be misleading - it might refer to CN and other tear gasses. The laws surrounding pepper sprays are the same laws that affect Mace pepper spray products, so buy mace under the same advice you would use to buy pepper spray. Check out our page on pepper spray laws for a quick guide. If you still have questions, contact local law enforcement - they'd rather refer you to an answer than arrest you for making an ill-informed choice.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What’s In Your Go Bag?

In prior articles we’ve emphasized the importance of preparedness when it comes to effective self defense. Protecting yourself from a hostile human being is just one aspect of self defense. It’s at least as important to think of other kinds of emergencies that arise from extreme weather, getting lost and other incidents that don’t involve a violent individual but can affect you just as adversely.

One handy concept is the go bag (or “bug out bag”): a gym back or backpack filled with everything you need for short term survival. The go bag has become a more prevalent idea since the rise of regular, extreme weather in the southern US. Hurricane Katrina made it obvious that it pays to have the necessities of life on hand, and the ability to take them with you to a safe place.

Here’s a set of guidelines for an effective go bag:

Food and Water: Prepare enough food and water to last for 72 hours. For water, one gallon per person per day is a good guideline. For food, goods that won’t spoil and don’t require heat or water to prepare are the best choice. In addition, pack water purification tablets, cutlery and cooking equipment. Camping supplies are a good source for these.

Medical Gear: Pack a first aid kit along with a supply of any medications you regularly take.

Radio and Lights: Get a radio and light with a fresh, ready supply of power. Our safety light is one compact option. In any emergency where you have to retreat from your home, you need access to the radio for important announcements, and enough light to get you through power interruptions.

Bedding and Clothing: Carry enough bedding for your family and three sets of clothes per person. Clothes and bedding should be appropriate for the worst weather the region has to offer.

Money: Store cash, because in an emergency, ATM and debit may be unavailable.

Tools: Your go bag should include a compact set of tools, including a knife. This category also includes self defense products. This isn’t just to deal with people; you may encounter wild or feral animals in a severe emergency. A can of bear spray is not out of the question. Finally, make sure you have a way to easily make fire. We recommend strike-anywhere matches and a set of lighters. Each of these excels in different situations.

Once you’ve gathered the required materials, pack them neatly and make sure it’s light enough that you can lug it around for a few hours without any trouble. If necessary, split an overly heavy bag into two, or more, but make sure that each one includes every item, so that if you lose a bag, you don’t lose an entire category of necessary items. Check your go bag for expired components (such as food or medicine) every few months. If you never need to use it, that’s great! Take it camping in the summer, restock it when you get home and remember that preparedness is never a waste.

Friday, November 7, 2008

C3: Get the Best Out of Self Defense Products with Command, Control and Communications

Modern militaries use a doctrine called C3 to effectively direct entire armies. C3 is short for Command, Control and Communications. This concept may seem rather lofty for the average person but if we view it as an allegory for managing personal protection, you’ll see how it can help you get the most out of your self defense tools.


In the military, command refers to the ability to issue clear orders to your troops. In basic self defense you only have one soldier: yourself. Nevertheless, you should make sure that you have some “standing orders” to prevent and handle dangerous situations. First off, whenever you go to an unfamiliar place, make sure you have a clear plan. When I go hiking, for example, I always plan my route and a timetable for visiting various spots. I give myself enough flexibility to have fun, of course, but I don’t wander off into unfamiliar places impulsively. My friends and family know when to expect me, and where to look if they need me.

I also have some “standing orders” about the equipment I take with me, including self defense tools. When I go on a hike, I carry an animal repellent like bear spray or dog spray, along with a knife. The knife isn’t necessarily for a fight, but it’s an extremely handy outdoor tool. Self defense isn’t always about people or animals. Sometimes, it’s about being ready for simple accidents.


Military control is the power to act effectively. It grows out of command, because you only get practical results from workable orders. For the individual, control is the power to successfully protect yourself in an emergency. This extends from having the proper tools and training to get the job done. If you’ve commanded yourself properly, you have the right tools. These might include pepper spray, a stun gun or a knife. Training means you have a regular physical fitness regimen, you’ve practiced drawing and using your tools and you’ve given serious thought to what you will and won’t do in an emergency. Self defense DVDs can help guide your personal training. Finding a fitness regimen that works for you, getting familiar with your tools and knowing your limits is 90% or preparedness.


This is straightforward: the ability to talk to who you need, when you need it. For the individual, this means that you have a charged cell phone and whenever you have a choice, you stay close to populated, public areas. If you can call 911 in an instant it means that no matter what happens, trained people will go to your location. If you stick near public areas, it dissuades potential attackers. They don’t want to be seen.

Think about these ideas when you order self defense products and you’ll have a clear idea of what you need, and when you’ll need it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Do You Know Karate? Instructional Fighting DVDs and You

Okay, I admit it: The ad copy for our Instructional Fighting DVDs can be a bit . . . extreme. That's why we use the phrase "more fun than Jackie Chan movies" to add a bit of levity. We know that the average, sane guy doesn't want to "slaughter" or "destroy" anyone, but the truth is that a little attention getting never hurt anyone. That's a fact, because this post is a response to the level of traffic our instructional DVD pages get.

That's why I want to take a moment to talk about self-defense training in straightforward language, without the, shall we say, "excitement" of the ad copy. How will you get the most out of an instructional video?

Exercise before Karate!

Lots of people buy self-defense DVDs because let's face it: There are big, strong guys out there that make us all kind of nervous. That's a bit of a clue - to be more confident, think about getting stronger! Work on your cardio. Go outside. Not everybody wants to be Mr. Universe, but an active lifestyle with fitness goals is one of the foundations of personal self-defense. Training won't make that go away.

No Secret Moves - Just Practice, Practice, Practice

Yeah, the ad copy talks about "lethal moves," and secret techniques, but if you ever watch these things the actual techniques are usually applied, refined common sense. For example, Paul Vunak's videos often talk about the "straight blast." What is that? Well, you punch someone and move forward, then you do it again, and again, and again, to overwhelm your opponent. There are lots of little details but that's basically it!

The "secret" is to do a good job of it, by getting the details right and practicing over and over again, with equipment and if you can manage it, a partner. DVDs provide the right visual reference, allowing you to perfect your technique.

It's One Part of Self-Defense

Remember to put all of this stuff in its place. Hand to hand combat is a very small part of self defense. 90% of safety is situational awareness and determination, along with the other elements we covered in our last self-defense article.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Knives: Dangerous Personal Protection Gear

We sell knives. They're one of the most popular self defense products, and also among those most rarely used by their purchasers - and thank God for that. Knives are dangerous!

Our catalog features two different kinds of knives: self defense pen knives and what knife enthusiasts call tactical folders. These knives can be used as tools but they're primarily designed to cut somebody who poses a serious threat to your well being. They're pretty, too. There are plenty of knife enthusiasts out there who appreciate a good blade's craftsmanship and aren't bracing themselves for the worst. Make no mistake, however: Carrying a knife is one of the most extreme measures you can take to protect yourself.

A Knife is a Lethal Weapon

Don't carry a knife believing you'll use it to scare someone away or just cut them "a bit" if they get too close. It takes very little force to mortally wound someone with a sharp knife and in the right spot, a cut can cause a fatal "bleed out" in seconds. Do not assume you'll be able to control the amount of force you use. In fact, knives are not any less lethal than many handguns. In other words, a knife is for scenarios just as serious as the ones you'd reserve a firearm for - situations where you're prepared to kill an attacker.

Knives are Unpredictable and Hard to See

To understand how knives work, you have to know how they're used in criminal assaults. Throw away visions of the wide, sweeping motions and threatening gestures you see in action flicks. You will never, ever see people "duel" with knives, either. Assailants conceal knives right up to the attack -- then they hit fast, and often. Many knifing victims don't even know they've been stabbed until the assailant's long gone and they start bleeding heavily. That's when they discover that each "punch" was a knife blow. Tap the bottom of your fist lightly but firmly against your desk ten times. That's how quickly someone can stab you ten times.

In a Fight Against a Knife, You'll Get Cut

You can see, then, that a knife is less of a deterrent than a way to protect your life from someone who will not be stopped with nonlethal means - a larger and/or armed attacker determined to do something terrible to you or your loved ones. If the attacker has a knife too, expect to get cut. Remember: he's probably already stabbed you a few times before you can even start protecting yourself. This is why a gun can't protect you from a knife, either. Police studies (specifically, the Tueller Drill) show that within 21 feet, an assailant can close and stab an officer before he has time to draw his gun. Training to defend against a knife is about maintaining as large a safety zone as possible and if that fails, receiving the cut in a way designed to minimize injury.

So Are You Ready?

Assuming you don't just want to buy a knife because you're a collector or martial arts enthusiast, let's use the above facts to help you decide whether or not you should buy a knife. Do the following points apply to you?
  • Are you willing to kill someone in an extreme situation - to save your life, or that of a family member, for example?
  • Are you willing to "ambush" someone instead of passively waiting for an attack?
  • Will you keep fighting after being cut instead of freaking out at the sight of your own blood?
  • Do you understand that carrying or using a fighting knife is as serious as carrying and using a firearm, and that the authorities will likely see it this way as well?
If you can accept the above, then by all means, exercise your rights; buy a tactical folding knife or a pen knife. If not, have you considered an alternative, like a stun gun?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Your Mind and Body: The Most Important Self Defense Products You Own

My business at Self Defense ATL sells self defense products for the average person but as I've said in past articles, you need practice, alertness and a little common sense to protect yourself. A stun gun or pepper spray increase your chance of success, but the most important "self defense product" is you!

Let's get down to brass tacks about what that means. The qualities of someone who successfully defends themselves could be written up in dozens of pages, but to make it readable we'll boil things down into just four areas: Environmental Awareness, Motivation, Physical Fitness and Training.

Self Defense Though Environmental Awareness

Environmental Awareness is a simple concept. If you want to protect yourself from danger you better see it coming! Just as we teach children to look both ways before crossing the street, we must teach ourselves to be aware of our surroundings and alert to possible danger. This is not the same as paranoia! In fact, proper Environmental Awareness should actually increase your appreciation for the small things in life. Instead of marching down the street concentrating on your own thoughts, you should be really looking at the world around you. That way, you'll notice difficult people or suspicious situations and avoid them, defending yourself without even getting into a fight. Not only that, but who do you think the average street predator would rather go after: someone who looks alert or someone who's staring at his shoes? Awareness gives you an air of confidence.
Self Defense Through Motivation

Sift through the news and it's easy to find stories about martial arts experts and big tough guys getting assaulted and not being able to do a thing to protect themselves. What happened? It could be a bunch of things, including plain bad luck, but in many cases these people weren't motivated to protect themselves. That sounds hard to believe, but true motivation (what some people call the "self defense mindset") doesn't magically appear because you took karate classes or hit the gym. Your attitude needs two important features:
  1. You need to believe you have the right to defend yourself! This isn't just an intellectual choice. You must absolutely believe that fighting back is the right thing to do. Decades ago police used to advise rape and other violent assault victims to not resist, but this only made things worse. Nowadays, we know that violent people see a passive attitude as an invitation to attack, and often have a mental "script" that doesn't count on resistance.
  2. You need to be mentally prepared to survive an assault. Don't think about how you'd defend against an attack. Think about what would happen if you actually were punched or cut with a knife. You need to have the resolve to keep fighting, because people only block every attack in the movies. You can't survive unless you think you can.
Self Defense Through Physical Fitness

Most of us aren't big guys built like UFC fighters or anything, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't regularly exercise. Not only is it just plain good for you, it also prepares your body for the stresses of an emergency. Strength training and aerobic fitness are the two primary foci of any fitness program. Don't worry about "sculpting" or "toning," but see how well you do at everyday tasks like moving furniture or climbing stairs. My wife and I love the outdoors because it's fun and helps us stay fit enough to enjoy life - and that's fit enough for an average person to defend themselves.

Self Defense Through Training

Practice makes perfect - or good enough, at least. Remember to always practice carrying, retrieving and aiming our products. Check for local self-defense courses in your area. If you choose to own a handgun always take courses in its proper handling and use. Even if you learned all about guns growing up, taking a course shows law enforcement that you are a responsible gun owner - and that's important if (God forbid) you ever have to go to court. If you can't find instruction in your area we do have Instructional Fighting Videos for sale.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why Cops Buy Stun Guns!

Stun Guns use high voltage and low amperage to temporarily disable an attacker. They disrupt voluntary muscle movements and cause a great deal of pain, leaving enough time for you to get away from a dangerous situation. Most law enforcement organizations make stun guns available to front line officers because of their proven effectiveness.

Let's go over the above statements in detail. First of all, like most weapons a stun gun isn't a "magic wand" and it isn't "setting phasers on stun." Stun guns are trusted because they work on age-old electrical principles. A stun gun (including a TASER's twin projectiles and the prods on a stun baton) has two contact points that deliver the electricity. Many models have a test mode that lets you run a small arc of electricity between the contacts. When that shock moves through human flesh . . . that flesh's owner doesn't like it very much.

Despite the name, most stun guns are actually close range weapons. You must touch your attacker with the weapon's contacts. TASERs are the exception, since their contacts are twin darts that are shot out, trailing a wire to deliver the electrical discharge. The weapon's exact effects depend on its wattage, amperage and the length of time the contacts touch your attacker. A fraction of a second's contact will cause pain and muscle contractions. Two or three seconds is often enough contact time to make an attacker drop to the ground. Past that, the shock might incapacitate the assailant for longer.

The importance of contact time is why Taser International recommends that TASER civilian model users abandon the weapon and run after use (Taser International will replace it if they get a police report about the incident), but their stun guns use projectiles that will stay in the target unless forcibly removed, and deliver the shock even after being abandoned, for a maximum of five seconds.

Remember: Electricity is dangerous! A stun gun isn't as dangerous to the target as a firearm but it can still cause long-term health complications. You shouldn't worry about that when someone's threatening you, of course, but like all weapons, a stun gun isn't a toy and should be used carefully. Make sure you keep it safe, secure and out of reach of your children, but practice drawing it quickly in case you need to use it. Make sure it's fully charged at all times. Finally, be aware of local laws. See our Stun Gun Laws page for legal information.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What Happens After You Buy Pepper Spray?

Let's say you've decided to buy pepper spray. Evidence from law enforcement organizations and the general public demonstrate that it's a highly effective self-defense tool as long as employ it properly - but how do you do that? To find the answer, you need to understand how it works.

The movies portray pepper spray as something that instantly drops any attacker, but that's not what really happens. Pepper spray is derived from Capsiacin, a chemical found in hot peppers. (This is why it's also called OC Spray - OC for Oleoresin Capsicum, a resinous form of capsiacin. Also note the term "Mace" in our products, which isn't a specific chemical but a reliable self defense brand. That's why you can buy Mace Pepper Spray, for example.)

Capsiacin makes food spicy because it's a chemical irritant, but it's only present in very small doses in even the hottest chilies, compared to the industrial concentrate found in pepper spray. In a spray, it's an intense inflammatory and irritant that effects the eyes, nose and mouth. Reactions include blindness, severe coughing, a runny nose, a burning sensation on exposed skin and in many cases, general incapacitation. This lasts for 30-45 minutes (lingering effects last for several hours), though individuals have different levels of tolerance.

What does this mean in practical terms? Pay attention to these 10 guidelines:
  1. Only use pepper spray if you feel legitimately threatened - not just annoyed. It has severe effects on virtually anyone you hit with it. It might have the same chemical as something you eat, but there's just no comparison between the intensity. Pepper spray hurts!
  2. Aim for the attacker's face, where it will deliver key incapacitating effects such as blindness. Experts suggest a tight fanning motion as if using air freshener. Never spray indiscriminately, since the spray can hit bystanders or even drift back to your own face.
  3. If you or any other unintended target comes into contact with pepper spray, be advised that it's not water soluble - you can't just rinse it off. Use soap and shampoo to wash exposed skin and blink rapidly to promote tears. Use eye wash solutions when they're available. Do not use creams and oils, as they can trap the spray on the skin and cause more severe, prolonged effects. Don't touch uncontaminated people with contaminated clothes or body parts either - these can spread the irritant.
  4. Just like the effects of a spicy meal, contact with pepper spray takes several seconds to take effect, and not everyone reacts the same. You must combine pepper spray use with other self-defense tactics. The assailant will not drop like a lead balloon.
  5. Yell "STOP!" to make it clear you're defending yourself, escape to a safe place and contact the police. Pepper spray is no substitute for common sense. Get away!
  6. One of pepper spray's best uses is as a way to buy you time to escape. It will slow most people down, but doesn't knock them out. It's not a weapon to help you stand your ground.
  7. Keep the can or other spray delivery system a safe distance away from your face, but don't stretch your hand all the way out, because the pepper spray can't shield you from attack. An attacker can still move, do if you hold your arm out, he might be able to not only wrestle it away, but grab your arm.
  8. Keep your pepper spray in easy reach. Many of our Pepper Spray Products come with a special holster our pouch for this reason.
  9. Consider taking a course in the proper use of pepper spray. As pepper spray is legal in all 50 states you should be able to find a course in your area. We also offer a Pepper Spray Instruction Manual for personal study.
  10. Always obey municipal ordinances and state laws! Check out our page on Pepper Spray Laws for some basic information.
With the right information, pepper spray is an excellent self-defense investment. We hope you never have to use it, but if you do, we hope you use it well!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Party Safety

Whatever your drug of choice, remember: drugs and alcohol can affect your ability to make decisions (such as identifying danger signs and plotting escape routes). Manage how much you consume.

* Always get your own drink. Watch it being poured.
* Don't leave it unattended.
* Don't drink or taste anybody else's drink.
* Don't accept drinks from anyone else.
* Dispose of your drink if you think it tastes odd (if you just leave it, someone else may drink it).
* Drugs used to spike drinks can be colorless and tasteless so you might not realize that anything has been added.
* Be aware of the behavior of your friends. Is their behavior out of character? Do they seem too "out of it" for what they've had?
* Watch out for your friends. Are they binge drinking or taking drugs? Are they making safe decisions? Are they OK?
* If your friend needs to sober up or straighten out, check to see that they are OK. Are they alone? Who is with them? Are they safe?
* Encourage people who are drunk to drink water or eat something. Keep an eye on them, if you can.
* Do you really trust whom you are going home with? Are you sure they won't make you do anything you don't want to do? Will they take "NO" for an answer?
* If you are going home with someone different, let someone know. Introduce them to your friends.

If You're Throwing the Party

* Know whom you have invited to the party and plan what you will do if there are gatecrashers.
* Provide food and non-alcoholic drink spacers like water, soft drinks and juice.
* Keep a look out for your guests. Make sure they're safe and having a good time.
* Offer to organize taxis for your guests. Take a note of the taxi company you have called.
* Create a safe atmosphere. If you know that someone is harassing or intimidating someone else, then do something about it:

1. Let them know you are watching;
2. Ask the person to stop;
3. Ask them to leave;
4. Find the victimized person a safe place;
5. Don't be afraid to call the police.

Stay safe yourself and ask for help if you need it.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tips to avoid schemes and scams

Charity fraud does a lot of harm. The con artist takes advantage of people's good will and takes their cash - money that was meant for people in need. You can make sure that any money you give gets into the right hands. Just remember these tips when somebody asks you for a donation.

* Ask for identification - the organization AND the solicitor. Find out what the purpose of the charity is and how funds are used.
* Ask if contributions are tax deductible.
* If you're not satisfied with the answers-don't give.
* Give to charities that you know.
* Check out the ones you've never heard of before, or others whose names are similar to a well-known charity.
* Don't fall for high-pressure tactics. If solicitors won't take no for an answer, tell them NO anyway - BUT DON'T GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY.
* Be suspicious of charities that only accept cash.
* Always send a check made out to the charity and not the individual requesting the donation.


A person approaches you and says that he just found a large amount of money. What should he do with it? Maybe his "boss" can suggest something. He then leaves to check with his "boss" and comes back a few minutes later. His boss said to divide the money, but first, each of you must put up some, "good faith money". Once you hand over your share, you'll never see it or the con artist again.


A con artist will contact you and tell you he is a bank official or police officer and that he needs your help to catch a dishonest bank teller. All you have to do is withdraw your savings and give the money to him so he can check the serial numbers. IF you do, you've been "stung". A real bank official would NEVER ask you to withdraw your money.

Is it hard to believe that people fall for such tricks? Con artists may be the greatest actors you'll ever meet. The pigeon drop and the bank examiner schemes are two of the most successful con games around. Don't be fooled. CALL THEIR BLUFF BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE.

Protect Yourself From Con-Artists

The con artist's philosophy is "the gullible were put on this earth to be gulled." In the past, con artists were usually referred to as con men. This is no longer the case as more and more women have become involved in con games and numerous variations of con games. Before we proceed with some tips on "how not to get conned" you should always remember that a con artist can be a male or a female. In addition, many times the con artist will work with a child who will assist them in accomplishing their goal. That goal is to GET YOUR MONEY.

Here are some good rules to follow all the time - whether or not you suspect a fraud:

* Don't believe in something-for-nothing offers. You get what you pay for.
* Be suspicious of high-pressure sales efforts.
* Take your time; think about it before you part with your money.
* Get all agreements in writing. Insist that agreements be in plain English and not legal jargon.
* Read all contracts and agreements before signing. Have a lawyer examine all major contracts.
* Beware of anyone who comes to your door asking for money for charity or for personal reasons.


Home repairs and improvements can be costly. Watch out if:

* Somebody offers to do an expensive job for an unusually low price
* If a firm offers to make a "free" inspection or if the person just happened to be in the neighborhood.
* The most popular home improvement frauds are roof repair and painting, driveway sealing, and termite inspection.

When hiring for home Improvement projects:

* Always get several estimates for every repair job, and compare prices and terms. Check to see if there is a charge for estimates.
* Ask your friends for recommendations. Alternatively, ask the firm for references - and CHECK THEM!
* Check the identification of all "inspectors."
* Call the loan Consumer Affairs office or the Better Business Bureau to check the company's reputation before you authorize any work.
* Be suspicious of high-pressure sales tactics.
* Pay by check - never with cash. Arrange to make the payments in installments.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Vacation Safety

Thieves look for opportunities. If you're going on vacation this summer, take a minute to check the list to protect yourself and your home.

* One of the times your home is most vulnerable is when it is left empty for an extended period of time. Darkened windows, mail or newspapers collecting and closed windows in hotter weather all advertise your absence to a potential burglar.

* The best protection for your apartment during your absence is to have a house sitter. A friend you trust staying at your house can take care of your pets and/or plants in addition to making sure the house is inhabited.

* Have a neighbor check on your apartment while you're away -- turning on lights, radios or TVs and opening and closing curtains will give your apartment the appearance of someone home.

* If you don't have a friend or neighbor to housesit or check your apartment while you're away -- perhaps even if you do -- you should keep not only lights but a TV or radio on a timer. If you're like me and have your TV on almost all the time you're home [I don't watch it, it's just background noise.], the absence of the sound and that glowing light in the windows announces that you're not there.

* Make sure whoever is checking your apartment while you're away knows how to work your alarm system and who to call in case of a problem.

* Unless you have a house sitter, stop your mail and any newspaper or other delivery. Nothing announces an empty apartment better than a stack of newspapers or an overflowing mailbox. Ask a nearby neighbor to pick up any packages delivered while you're gone.

* If you have a garden or plants on your balcony, make sure someone is watering the plants regularly or put the plants where they can't be seen. Plants slowly dying due to lack of water may announce your absence.

* Check your lease. Many landlords require that you notify them if your apartment is going to be left empty for any period of time (this is so they can enter in case of emergency even if they can't reach you). If you've got a house sitter this isn't necessary.

For the summer: Boating Safety

During the summer, we enjoy tips to the lake or to the beach. Don't let your family outing turn into the day you became a victim of crime!

Thieves are always on the lookout for easy targets. Don't make yourself an
easy target. Always follow these simple steps.

* Never leave anything valuable on display, however small and insignificant it may seem. Thieves steal first and think about value later.
* Don't leave anything loose in the cockpit or on deck.
* Don't leave your engine key in the ignition - always take it with you.
* Keep your boat keys separate from your engine keys.
* Always keep your boat locked when no one is on board, even for a short time.
* Use strong padlocks or rimlocks on all your hatches, entry points and cockpit lockers.
* Constantly check and improve the security on your boat. It's a good idea to fit an alarm and use a visible sticker to say that one is fitted.
* Make sure your cockpit lockers can be properly locked, and check that your main hatch and fore-hatch are strong.
* Also think about having a strongbox down below. If you don't think something is secure, get it fixed.

Once you've tied up alongside, always do a quick security check before going ashore.


* Lock anything valuable out of sight in a strong locker secured by a strong padlock;
* Lock up emergency money away from other valuables;
* Keep your curtains closed so that no-one can look in;
* Keep unused ropes, fenders and other items out of sight in your cockpit, lockers and cupboards - and always lock them;
* Make sure that your life raft and outboard motor are secure, as these are valuable and attractive to boat thieves.
* When you go ashore from a dinghy, always remove your oars or paddles, rowlocks or pump, and secure the dinghy with a strong chain and padlock.
* If you are the victim of boat theft, call the police immediately and tell the harbour master or boatyard manager. Check to make sure that your boat is still seaworthy and hasn't been badly damaged.
* And, if you can, check that neighboring boats haven't been broken into as well.
* Get to know other boat owners in your marina and work together to keep the marina secure. You can do the following.
* Keep an eye on other boats, as well as your own.
* Report any strangers at the marina to the harbour master or yard master.
* Don't give your marina access card or key to other people.
* Never tell anyone else the access code to the marina.
* Don't let strangers into the marina, however genuine they may seem.
* Keep the marina gate closed at all times.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Videos on Pepper spray and Stun guns

Basic Moves for Women's Self Defense : How to Use Pepper Spray on an Attacker...
Learn about using mace pepper spray on an attacker and some basic moves for women's self defense in this free video clip.

The Nevada Sagebrush tests a Stun Gun:
Watch as a college student demonstrates the effectiveness of a stun gun on an attacker. The Nevada Sagebrush is the college newspaper for the University of Nevada, Reno.

What type of Pepper Spray or Mace® is Best?

The most popular, non-lethal, personal defense product on the market today is self defense sprays like Pepper Spray or Mace®. But which type is best? The terms are confusing.

Most defense sprays now contain Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) which is not an irritant. This is the best ingredient so make sure the one you purchase contains OC.

OC is an inflammatory agent that creates a couple of things to happen. When a person is sprayed with OC, two things happen without delay. First, the person's eyes clamp shut, hard. Even if they do manage to open them they still can't see well because the OC dilates the capillaries of the eyes and causes temporary blindness. Second, an uncontrollable coughing fit doubles the person over and often sends them to their knees. The OC causes an instant inflammation of breathing tissues, restricting all but life support breathing. The condition is temporary but very debilitating. Whoever is sprayed with it stops what they're doing, stops what they're thinking - so it gives the victim a chance to escape! It works on persons on drugs, drunk, or psychotic.

OC is a natural chemical, a derivative of various hot pepper plants. OC takes about 20 to 45 minutes to wear off. The assailant makes a complete recovery and suffers no harmful effects.

Now, should you purchase a spray, gel, stream or foam version of pepper spray? The best for home use is the pepper gel spray because it has a range of 15 to 20 feet. The pepper gel is recommended for home or vehicle protection. However, the smaller ½ oz size of pepper sprays are effective because they fit easily on your key-ring and will be available quickly when needed even though their range is only 5 to 8 feet, which is usually all the distance you need when walking or hiking.

How can I compare one unit to another in its strength? Defense sprays come in concentrations of 1%, 5%, and 10%. But, due to a number of differences in the formulation, these percentages are not a good indication of the effectiveness of the spray. A 1% spray can be just as effective as a 10% concentration. Three formulation factors: the heat rating of the OC, the type of carrier agent and the spray density, combine to determine how effective any given spray is. The heat generating capacity of OC is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU's). OC is derived from hot peppers. Peppers range from 0 SHU's for standard bell peppers to 5,000 for Jalapeno peppers up to 300,000 SHU's for Habaneros peppers. As you can see, a 10% concentration of Jalapeno peppers is not going to be nearly as effective as a 1% concentration of Habaneros peppers. So compare the Scoville Heat units (SHU's) of a pepper spray not the percentage of the pepper concentration.

To summarize, only purchase self defense sprays with OC (Oleoresin Capsicum). The sprays that attach to a keychain are effective even though they have a range of only 5 to 8 feet. But for home defense purchases, the pepper gel formulas are best because they have a range of 15 to 20 feet. And compare the heat of the various sprays with the SHU (Scoville Heat Units).

Safety Tips to Help You Avoid Being a Victim!

These are some common sense tips that you can follow to help you avoid being a victim of random crime. You may have heard some of them before but it doesn’t hurt to reiterate them!
  1. Be Alert! Keep your head up. Be aware of your surroundings. Wherever you are on the street, in an office building or shopping malls, driving, waiting for a bus or cab, stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings.
  2. Vary your routines. Predictability makes you a more likely target.
  3. Lock it! Home, car, office – locks are your first line of defense.
  4. Make your home a tough target. Use floodlights, motion sensors, a security system, deadbolts, etc.
  5. Foil Car-jackers. Keep windows and doors locked. Check mirrors and blind spots when stopped. Stay one to one and a half lengths away from the car ahead of you. Sound your horn and flash your lights if you think you’re being approached by a car-jacker.
  6. Avoid Car Theft. Lock it. Use an anti-theft device. Turn the wheels when you park. Never leave a spare key inside the car. Park in a well-lighted place. Put packages in the trunk.
  7. Trust your instincts. If something or someone makes you uncomfortable, avoid the person or leave.
  8. Know your neighborhoods where you live and work. Check out the locations of police and fire stations, hospitals, and restaurants, or stores that are open late.

Cell Phone Stun Guns

How does a Stun Gun Work?

Stun guns use high voltage and low amperage to temporarily disable an attacker for several minutes. The stun gun does not rely on pain for results. The energy stored in the gun is dumped into the attacker's muscles causing them to do a great deal of work rapidly. This rapid work cycle instantly depletes the attacker's blood sugar by converting it to lactic acid. In short, he is unable to produce energy for his muscles, and his body is unable to function properly. The stun gun also interrupts the tiny neurological impulses that control and direct voluntary muscle movement. When the attacker's neuromuscular system is overwhelmed and controlled by the stun gun he loses his balance. Should the attacker be touching you, the current will NOT pass to your body!

Does the Stun Gun do any Permanent Damage?

No. The assailant recovers 100 percent within 45 minutes. There is NO permanent damage. The whole purpose of a stun gun is to allow the user time to escape and get help.

How to protect yourself?

Surprise your attacker! Be prepared by walking with a cell phone that is really a stun gun. So many people carry a cell phone in their hands these days that it doesn’t even look strange. When someone comes too close, switch it on and be prepared to stun the attacker and bring them to their knees. As they fall to their knees, stun them again in the back of the neck and this will ensure that they remain disabled for a short period of time to allow you plenty of time to escape.