March 31, 2009

Let’s talk about…personal alarms

Posted in Safety tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:56 am by ledefensetech

Personal alarms seem to be the red headed step child of self defense. They’re not as sexy as pepper spray or stun guns, but as a defensive tool, they can be better. The most important ally a criminal has is anonymity. As long as they can keep their crimes from coming to light, they can usually get away with it. That’s why personal alarms change the entire calculus of a violent confrontation. Personal alarms come in many shapes and sizes. Some are small enough to be keychains while others are integrated into flashlights and batons. Some of the best have straps that can be pulled away, so that if an attacker grabs the alarm and pulls it away from you, the pin is pulled from the alarm and it goes off until the pin is replaced. Now, just because you’re kited out in all this cool self defense gear, it doesn’t mean that you can walk around heedless of your surroundings. Alarms, for instance, are much more effective in heavily trafficked areas. The more people who can hear the alarm and respond, the better off you are. Even if nobody responds, you still will have a second or two while your attacker is confused by the howling alarm in his hand for you to grab your pepper spray or stun gun. You’ll have to be quick because you might only have a second or two. That’s where multipurpose alarms come in handy. If, for example, you have a flashlight/stun gun/alarm, when you set the alarm off, you’re ready to go with the stunning part. If you’re in a darkened area you’ll already have the flashlight out looking around, so you don’t have to waste time digging around for it. Several types of alarms come with door and/or window attachments. These are perfect if you’re traveling or live in dormitories or know people who do. They work by using the principle of current. As long as the current between the door and the jamb remain closed, the circuit is complete and the alarm doesn’t go off. As soon as the door opens…130 db of of hi fidelity disorienting power slams a burglar in the face. Have you ever seen those lamps that turn on when you touch the base? Certain dual purpose alarms use that process to arm themselves. They come with a strap that you hang on the doorknob on your side of the door. When someone touches the handle on the outside of the door the alarm will go off. You do need to be careful as the alarm will not work with metal doors. Dormitories are notorious for using metal doors so be sure yours isn’t before you get one of these. The main benefit of an alarm is to buy yourself time. Time to escape, time to summon help, time to fight back. A criminal has the advantage in that they know when and where they’re going to strike. It gives them quite an advantage, but planning and practice, wedded to the right tools can overcome that advantage and give you the initiative.

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3 Comments »

  1. Kellene said,

    They’re great as an added level of protection but not as a primary protection.

    • I guess I didn’t make that clear enough. Most of these techniques are geared toward evading an attacker and giving yourself time to get away. It’s all part of a strategy you use to keep yourself safe. Kind of like overlapping layers of protection. Most attackers will be chased off by the first or at most second layer of defense. Personal alarm and pepper spray, let’s say. Only the most die hard or crazy will try to continue an assault after a face full of spray. Still you can’t predict crazy so you always need to keep in mind that one time you might really need to use force rather than just evade an attacker.

  2. I always recommend a spray and a stun gun but for $10-15 you canget a great easy to carry personal alarm that adds another layer of protection.


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