Have You Ever Been Hit with Pepper Spray?
FiberTect Wipes Reduce the Pain Fast
THE INCIDENT: Removal of Pepper Spray
LOCATION: Springdale, Arkansas
RESPONDING DEPARTMENT: Springdale Fire Department
Your eyes burn.
Your skin feels like it’s on fire.
It’s hard to breathe.
The effects are temporary but are painful enough to deter and stall an attacker. If you’ve ever been hit with pepper spray, you know you want to get it off you as quick as you can. But the usual techniques of wiping it off with soap, water, and towels is not very effective.
Captain Todd Andrews of the Springdale Arkansas Fire Department has seen the effects first-hand and has found a better way to remove pepper spray quickly.
According to Captain Andrews, “When we first got a supply of FiberTect wipes, we went out on a call where a child decided he wanted to spray one of his family members with pepper spray. We were surprised that when we started wiping the pepper spray off the child’s face there was an almost instantaneous relief from the pain caused by the agent.”
Impressed with the effectiveness of the FiberTect wipes, he was able to utilize this approach during other incidents with similar results.
“Our local police department received a shipment of pepper-spray projectiles commonly referred to as pepper-balls. Recently they utilized one of these pepper-balls while subduing a suspect and he went down immediately.
Because the agent is contained in oil which sticks to the person it is difficult to remove. I suggested that the medics wipe the patient with the FiberTect wipes before transport. We were again surprised by how quickly the symptoms were relieved.
We also had another incident where the police department used the pepper spray projectiles to subdue several people and the FiberTect wipes enabled us to quickly remove the pepper spray”
Pepper-spray weapons systems are used by law enforcement, the military, and other organizations. The weapon is used generally in the role of stand-off weapons, where physical proximity to a suspect is deemed dangerous but deadly force is not warranted.
Training with pepper-spray weapons is another situation where having a supply of FiberTect wipes is helpful.
According to Captain Andrews, “Several of our medics operate on the SWAT Team and they were training with the pepper-balls. Of course, they have to get hit by the pepper-balls before they are allowed to use them, so they will understand how effective they are.
After being shot with the pepper-balls, they were immediately decontaminated with the FiberTect wipes. The FiberTect wipes not only absorbed the vapors and neutralized the active agent but also removed most of the oil in which the pepper-spray is contained.”
“Since then, we’ve put a few FiberTect wipes on each medic unit so that if they encounter the need to remove pepper spray in the field, they’ll have them on hand. This saves us having to send the HazMat Truck to some incidents.”
Springdale Fire Department covers the Northern part of Washington County and a portion of Southern Benton County in Northwest Arkansas. The City of Springdale has over 80,000 residents making it the fourth largest city in the state. The city has recently been accredited and is a Class One ISO City.
Recently, Springdale has been experiencing rapid population growth and the Springdale Fire Department is expanding from six stations to nine. The Department also has over 130 line personnel. Springdale is a very diverse community with a mixture of single–family homes, multi-story apartments, hospitals and nursing homes, and large commercial structures.
Captain Andrews describes the operation of the HazMat Team. “Our station 3 is our dedicated HazMat station with the HazMat truck, a medic unit, and an engine. The Springdale Fire Department currently has five front line engines, two ladders, 4 medic units, an available heavy rescue vehicle, and two brushfire trucks. More units have been ordered and those will be deployed when the city opens Station 7.
The HazMat team covers the entire town of Springdale and serves the larger region through mutual aid agreements. All the HazMat teams in the region train extensively together throughout the year. In that way, everyone knows each other and can fit into each department’s command system when working together on large incidents.”
“Our medic units all now carry a supply of FiberTect wipes that they use any time they encounter any contaminates in the field.”
FiberTect is a three-layer, inert, flexible, non-woven composite substrate for absorbing and adsorbing chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, toxic industrial materials, and pesticides.
The FiberTect decontamination wipe can serve as a standalone technology or be used effectively as an integral part of a hybrid decontamination system by using it in conjunction with Dahlgren Decon.
Editor’s Note – Do you have a decontamination response story to share with your counterparts in other departments? Let us know. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief description of your experience.