PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -If you’ve ever gone for a walk or a run and feared for your safety, there are some new products on the market that claim to be the answer to your problem.
Just before the sun comes up Alicia Murton gets ready for her morning run. Before hitting the trail she grabs her cell phone and her keys with pepper spray.
“I feel like it’s always best to be safe. You just always want to have some protection if unfortunately, something does happen,” Murton said.
Like Alicia, most people with smartphones have them glued to their hands.
New products take Murton’s concerns about keeping herself safe and combine that with a cell phone case.
One example is the Yellow Jacket, which is a stun gun.
Pittsburgh Police Officer David Wright brought KDKA-TV’s Heather Abraham down to his gym in Crafton, where he teaches many self-defense classes.
The two gave the new product a try.
Nestled on the top of the case are two prongs that generate 650,000 volts of electricity at the touch of a button.
Officer Wright said the sound alone may work to fend off the attacker.
“That crackling noise, that arching sound that it’s making and it lights up, especially at nighttime, that could definitely be a deterrent,” Officer Wright said.
Making contact in a life-or-death situation may give just the shock you need to get away.
Abraham gave it a try herself and said it’s not pleasant. However, Officer Wright said you’ll need to make direct, forced contact, aiming for nerve endings for it to work at its maximum potential.
When faced with a potential attacker, if the stun gun is too intimidating, there is another option.
It’s called Spraytect and claims to use the same habanero pepper blend that the FBI, military and police departments use in their sprays. It comes with one test canister and one canister of the pepper spray.
The bad news is Abraham and Officer Wright encountered problems with the product right away.
Following the directions in the manual, they gave the pepper spray canister a try. However, it came out congealed and oozed down the side of the phone case.
Abraham called the company to report the problem and they sent two more. The second attempt worked, but sprayed for just under two seconds and the canister was empty.
As a result, it doesn’t leave much room for error.
During their third attempt they encountered the same problem they had in the beginning with liquid oozing out and onto the phone case.
Regarding the pepper spray tests, founder Scott McPherson said he’s never heard of the problems happening before.
“I have halted our sales on Amazon and our website until we have a good understanding if this was a freak accident, shipping issue, or something else. Our goal in developing this product was that of safety to the user and to have a real tool to fend off unwanted threats,” McPherson said.
Regardless of whether these products work or not, Officer Wright said there is concern they might give people a false sense of security.
Learning to use your own body and your instincts as a weapon are the real keys to survival.
“You can use the weapon, but also, be ready to kick, knee so that you can further access vulnerable areas, such as the throat, the groin,” Officer Wright said. “It’s good having a weapon that’s you know, hidden. And I think you’re very vulnerable out there. You have to go in knowing you’re protecting yourself. and that you want to survive.”
Right now, both the stun gun and pepper spray cases are only available for the iPhone 4 and 4S.