What to do if you’re exposed to tear gas-4
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  • Jimmy at
  • June 17, 2020

CS gas, tear gas (2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile) is one of the most commonly used tear gases in the world.

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How to put out tear gas canisters

So far, these tips will allow you and your allies to move to a safer place and, hopefully, get back home to your loved ones. But if a gas canister lands right next to you, you may want to know how to put it out before it can release too much of its sinister payload. Be warned, though, that doing so is more dangerous than retreating, as it will bring you closer to the gas and the little fire that’s helping it disperse.

Videos of protesters in Hong Kong employing a number of creative methods to put out canisters went viral on social media, and were replicated by protesters in both Ecuador and Chile’s capital city, Santiago. Since CS gas is propelled out of its canister by a pyrotechnic explosion, putting out the fire inside is enough to make it stop. There are mainly two relatively safe ways to do this:

The traffic cone method

The principle is simple: cover a canister with a traffic cone to stop the spread of the gas, and use the opening at the top of the cone to pour water in it and put the fire in the canister out. This creative method stops the release of tear gas almost instantly. However, it’s not very efficient when it comes to water use—since you can’t properly aim at the canister inside the cone, you’ll need a lot of water, which is most likely in short supply.

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The water bottle technique

Proceed with extreme caution: This method is much more dangerous, since it requires actually handling a hot, detonated tear gas canister or grenade. There are reports of people experiencing second degree burns when coming into direct contact with them. But the Hong Kong protesters figured it out: they used thick, heat-resistant leather gloves to pick up the canisters, put them inside metal water bottles, and shake them thoroughly until the fire in the canister was completely out. For this method, though, protection is key: Exposure to higher concentrations of CS powder make it absolutely necessary to have your eyes and airways thoroughly covered with a gas mask, and wearing appropriate, heat-resistant protection on your hands is a must to avoid burns.