Is there a danger of catching fire after someone is tased after being pepper sprayed?
It’s an odd question, but it came up while covering a recent news article. Turns out, there are a couple of instances in which this question has come to the front.
The short answer appears to be, surprisingly, “Yes.”
I never really thought about it, but it does make sense. According to KTRK-TV, a man in Paris, France, was tased by police after being sprayed by tear gas (unlikely it’s the same that an average citizen would carry, but still), and he did catch fire.
“The officer who uses the taser can be heard asking who sprayed the gas as he rushes to douse the flames,” the KTRK-TV report said of the incident.
Fortunately, according to authorities, he wasn’t severely injured.
More to the point, there is a much more authoritative source that addressed the possibility: TASER itself.
“A CEW can ignite explosive or flammable clothing or materials, liquids, fumes, gases, or vapors (e.g.,
gasoline, vapor or gas found in sewer lines or methamphetamine labs, butane-type lighters, flammable hair gels or some self-defense sprays),” TASER’s device instructions read.
“Do not knowingly use a CEW in the presence of any explosive or flammable substance unless the situation justifies the increased risk.”
Axon spokesman Steve Tuttle acknowledged the issue as well.
“We’ve seen it happen,” Tuttle said of people catching fire after being tased in 2017, according to the Associated Press. “It’s happened about 15 times in 24 years … out of about 3.5 million field uses.”
For concealed carriers, this question is likely less relevant. Plenty of concealed carriers include pepper spray as a part of their every day carry. A Taser is more rare.
Be careful out there.