First Aid: Pepper Spray & PAVA

Know What to Do When You’re Exposed!

First Aid: Pepper Spray & PAVA Know What to Do When You’re Exposed!

At HERO™ we know the importance of training. The knowledge and muscle memory formed during practice exercises determine how a person reacts when it matters most. Proper training drastically increases the chances for navigating a dangerous situation successfully.

One important aspect of training is learning how the contents of a defense device behave after being deployed. For example, knowing how environmental factors affect gel versus spray helps a user decide which to use in their unique situation. Life is rarely so neat and accidents happen, though. If you find yourself at the receiving end of a chemical irritant like pepper spray or PAVA (the active ingredient in our products), don’t panic. While painful, symptoms begin to subside after an hour and can be treated with common household items:


Exposed skin will experience intense burning sensations and redness. Take care because oils can easily spread to other areas via touch. The first step is to treat the burn. Pour cold milk (whole is best) on the affected area to treat the immediate pain. Next, soak a cloth in milk and lay it gently over the exposed skin. After the burning has begun to subside, it’s time to remove the oils. 

Begin by creating a mixture of water and dish soap (like Dawn), and pouring it slowly over the area. After a few rounds, you can start to gently wash the skin and rinse. Repeat 8-10 times. While these steps will help, it will still take time for symptoms to fully subside.


Painful burning and temporary swelling can occur when eyes are exposed. If you’re wearing contacts, remove and throw them away because they cannot be cleaned. Next, flush your eyes under cold water. Water helps to remove the oils contained in pepper spray and PAVA. Saline solution can also be used, but discomfort can be expected for up to 2 hours.


PAVA and pepper spray are designed to cover an area quickly and easily. If used indoors, quickly ventilate the area by turning on fans and vents and opening windows and doors. Avoid the area while the chemicals dissipate. If an item is affected, such as a purse, open it fully and leave outdoors to air out. 


Fabrics will soak in the chemicals, so be sure not to touch them with bare skin. Put on rubber gloves and gather some cold cream and a spoon. Rub the cold cream into the soiled area of the fabric using the spoon to draw out the oils. Let sit for 20 minutes then rinse in cold water. Next, soak the garment in cold water and laundry soap for 30 minutes before washing as usual. 

Even the best plans can go awry. Have an action plan ready with the materials mentioned above on hand in case of accidental exposure. When practicing with HERO™ 2020, be sure to use the training cartridges which contain no active ingredient. In a real situation, maintain the optimal firing distance to avoid being exposed. Refer to our HERO™ 2020 training page for more detailed information.

Despite initial setbacks from COVID-19, we’re ramping up production. HERO™ 2020 is coming soon! Sign up below to be one of the first to know when they’re in stock!


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