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What To Do If You Get Tear Gassed

What is the working principle of tear gas?

Typical RCAs (Riot-Control Agents) like tear gas can be delivered using either a spray gun or a grenade container fired from a baton. Canisters can cause serious burns and heat damage if they are not handled. They can cause severe damage to the body and even death if they are used in close proximity.

Tear gas chemicals react with moisture to cause a burning sensation. This makes the eyes, skin, and lungs extremely vulnerable. Wearing oil-based creams, sunscreens, and makeup can absorb tear gas. Tear gas can damage the lungs so if you have any respiratory conditions, such as asthma, you should consider the potential dangers.

Put on a gas mask or goggles if you have one. You may then be able to continue working in the gas by wearing a complete gas mask hood. You will need to wash your clothes and yourself as the gas can remain on your clothing and equipment.

Protect your nose and mouth with a cloth or a handkerchief. Let the breeze blow the CS gas out of your lungs. Keep your arms extended to help CS gas escape from your clothing.

Reach high ground – RCAs are heavier than air so they tend to be closer to the ground. Be aware that the gas can impregnate clothing over many months. Any clothing that has been contaminated should immediately be washed multiple times or thrown out.

All exposed skin should first be washed with soapy water. First, wash your skin with cold water. Then rinse it off with warm water. Do not take a bath. Do not rub your face or eyes. This will activate any crystals.