Thanks for your question.
A quick search for personal defence devices and personal attack alarms
will return a mind-boggling amount of results. However, you have no
definite way of knowing if these devices are effective.
There is a lot of conflicting advice out there regarding the use of
personal attack devices and which of them are the most effective. Some
advocate the use of noise devices; others claim that relying on
someone to take notice and help out isnt advisable. Pepper sprays are
touted by some as an effective attack deterrent; others disagree,
claiming the sprays could be used against victims, the weather
conditions may prevent the spray working effectively and the range of
the device requires the victim to stay too close to the attacker.
Ive included a range of information here, but please bear in mind
that nothing is 100 percent effective. Its probably better to use a
combination of methods rather than relying on one particular form of
This article, from The Advocate Online, reinforces how self-protection
should be used carefully.
Self-protection devices should be used with caution, [Judy Benitez]
said. I would hate for people to have a false sense of security,
Benitez said. To be effective, a safety device must be available for
use even if a person is surprised by an attacker, she noted.
This article, taken from the University of Oklahomas Website, looks
at what devices work and what ones dont. It claims that stun guns
arent as effective as they are made out to be and may only exacerbate
the situation by making the attacker angry.
There are some electrical-shock based devices, available to police
and corrections officers, that are reported to be effective, in some
circumstances, including some devices like the "Air-Taser" that fire
wire-line projectiles into the skin (bypassing skin resistivity) but
none that we'd recommend for the average citizen.
The devices also require the potential victim to stay within range of
the attacker long enough for the device to work if it does at all.
They may also be illegal in some states.
Out of all the devices on the market, the article recommends the use
of noise-makers such as whistles or personal attack alarms.
If you're considering a "noise maker" as a means of summoning help,
alerting passers-by, and discouraging an assailant, we'd suggest you
consider a good quality whistle. There are several extremely loud
whistles on the market that have no moving parts, no batteries to
replace, have little weight, take up little space, cost very little,
and can be used while running away from an assailant.
Unlike an offensive weapon, noise-makers don't require that you be
(and stay) within a certain proximity of your attacker to use. You
don't have to "confront" your attacker to use a noisemaker
However, not everyone agrees. This article from runners world doesnt
advocate the use of noise devices.
Although rape whistles and personal alarms produce loud piercing
noises, there's no guarantee they will bring someone to your aid.
We've become so accustomed to car alarms and similar sounds that we
pay little attention to them. More importantly, activating a whistle
or alarm steals valuable time (anywhere from 2 to 20 seconds) that you
could use to escape from an attacker. Besides, you already carry a
"natural alarm" that's more immediate and more effective--screaming.
AWARE, Arming Women Against Rape and Endangerment is also against the
use of noise-makers to defend against attack.
Counting on an alarm to summon aid means that you are depending on
someone else to come forth to rescue you. That is, you are betting
your life on the hope that someone will hear the alarm, and will
respond, and will be capable of stopping the attack. That's a lot of
'ifs' that are out of your control.
if you are using a personal alarm, it is important to make sure that
the batteries are working and replace them regularly.
Pepper spray, or Oleoresin Capsicum, may be an effective deterrent if
used correctly. According to PersonalAlarms.com, the spray has the
First, the person's eyes clamp shut, hard. Not only that, but if they
do manage to force them open they still can't see because the OC
dilates the capillaries and causes temporary blindness. Second, an
immediate fit of uncontrollable coughing doubles the person over
because the OC causes instant inflammation of the breathing tissues,
restricting all but life support breathing.
However, like everything, it all depends on how you use it. The
University of Oklahaomas Website has this on pepper spray:
Pepper spray may not be effective in controlling an assailant if
mis-aimed, or under windy conditions. It also is known to be less
effective on some persons than on others.
AWAREs Website also notes the short-comings of pepper spray.
The spray may not work on some violent, goal-oriented, people, and
may not work fast enough to be effective against someone who is
The site also contains some information on a device called the
Persuader/Kubotan. It needs some training to use.
A 5 1/2" long cylinder made of plastic or metal which you attach your
keys to. It can be used for pressure point manipulation, locks, or
However, it should be noted that perosnal defence devices like these -
especially martial arts weapons - may be illegal, depending on what
geographical location you are in. It is worth checking with your local
law enforcement agency, just to be on the safe side.
I would also recommend that the girl in question takes some sort of
self-defence class or unarmed fighting. While it shouldnt be solely
relied upon to protect a person, it might give the girl the edge over
Look in your local white or yellow pages under self-defense for Model
Mugging, Impact, Bamm, or RAD (Rape Aggression Defense).
Buying online may mean you arent sure of the quality of the product
you will receive. However, I have included some links anyway, so if
you want, you can purchase online or just find the product that best
suits your purposes.
If you wish to purchase pepper spray, you can check out the following
PersonalAlarms.com (keychain Pepper spray)
PersonalAlarms.com (Self defence Keychain)
Pepper Spray Inc
The Persuader/Kubotan can be purchased from the following locations:
Personal attack alarms can purchased online from the following sites:
PersonalAlarms.com (The Keychain Alarm) battery operated.
SelfDefence.com 130dB personal alarm (battery operated)
Pepper Spray Inc
The following websites provide safety tips for women:
Winnipeg Police Service
personal safety devices+effective
If any part of this answer is unclear, please ask for clarification
before rating and I will be happy to do further research.