Exploding Bear Spray Canister - Fiberglass RV

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Old 06-30-2013, 02:02 PM   #1
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Name: Francesca Knowles
Trailer: '78 Trillium 4500
Jefferson County, Washington State, U.S.A.
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Exclamation Exploding Bear Spray Canister

Cautionary tale re. the hazards of keeping a pressurized canister of bear spray inside one's vehicle...posted on another forum by a member still cleaning up the effects of the explosion.

Here quoting from: This Woodall's Link

We live in close proximity to both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, hence we spend most of our camping days out there. As most of you know, grizzly bears are found in good numbers here so we ALWAYS carry our Bear Spray in the backcountry. For the past year, we have kept our bear spray in our new pickup with no thought as to the consequences of an unintended discharge in the cab (we kept it in it's holster on the dashboard). Last week, it got up to 93F on one day. I noticed a huge "bullseye" fracture on my windshield and thought someone hurled a beer bottle at it. When I opened the drivers side door, I immediately got a lungful of an irritant that burned my lungs. It was then that I realized that the heat had caused the bear spray canister to explode, raining pieces and parts of the can and it's holster throughout the cab. The active ingredients had pooled on the dashboard but the miniscule droplets that were invisible coated everything inside. My insurance had me get the cab detailed to remove the irritants as best possible. They charged $250 for the detail because they were getting burned in the process and actually had to wear respirators to avoid inhaling the droplets stirred up by the shampooing machine. I had to get the windshield replaced, and there is still damage to the dashboard that will have to be repaired. As much as they scrubbed the interior, there will probably always be remnants of spray that remain. I know this because i have rubbed my face, nose, and eyes, and immediately the burning starts.

As much of a pain in the butt as this unfortunate incident has been, how much worse would it have been if the spray had deployed while I was driving on the interstate at 75 mph? There is no way I would have been able to maintain control of the truck if that had happened, as the pain and discomfort is immediate and intense. Talking to my coworkers has turned up similar stories, so this was not an isolated occurrence. I sure would hate to be a bear who got a faceful of this stuff. People tell me that there are boxes available that are designed to prevent this kind of thing from happening. I'll be sure to pick one up when I purchase a new can of bear spray here soon.

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Old 06-30-2013, 04:34 PM   #2
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This site is totally awesome with all the useful knowledge shared.

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Old 06-30-2013, 04:58 PM   #3
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New Jersey
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Thank you for the warning! With all the strict gun laws, we always carry bear mace! I will be more careful in high temperatures now though!
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Old 06-30-2013, 06:36 PM   #4
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Nothing pressurized stays in a vehicle of mine. I decided this after a 6 pack of root beer blew up in my truck (every can) after being in there for only a few hours.

I've never messed with bear spray, can't be good to inhale, though. I prefer more permanent solutions.
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Old 06-30-2013, 06:54 PM   #5
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Every aerosol can has a warning on the label that warns against high temperatures. And you don't throw the empty into a fire either.
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Old 06-30-2013, 07:06 PM   #6
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Thanks for the warning Francesca.
I had bear spray in the tool box on the back of my PU.
At a 111 degrees today I can imagine how hot it was in the tool box.
I just brought it in the house.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-30-2013, 08:24 PM   #7
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I was on a tour bus into Denali national park. The bus stopped to pick up a couple of photographers; they had long lenses placed into their day bags. they got into the seats behind my friends. Trying to get a bag in between the seat my friends were seated on, and themselves, a can of bear spray,at the top of one of the packs, opened and sprayed onto the back of my friends heads. It glanced off of them and brushed past my bearded face, also hitting the side of my wife's face, as we were starting to look back where the ruckus was occurring from, it riccoshade (sic ?) off the side window and sprayed up toward the front. The members of the bus, began a peaceful exit of the vehicle, and without much caution, proceeded to thrash about on the ground and struggled in the arms of fellow passengers, trying to be of some assistance. A second bus, moments behind our bus stopped to give aid. Rubbing eyes while pouring water into them seemed to help. Much coughing. A Doctor on our bus stated all would be Ok, just bad for the moment. We received a shower, and had our clothes washed, we did not have to pay for either., How generous! The park rules were as follows, All bear spray will be placed in the lower compartments by the driver at at his/her request. We were there in our 13' trailers 4 of them 10,000 miles for this trip. It still turned out perfect!

Later Kenny
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Old 06-30-2013, 10:16 PM   #8
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I am embarrassed to say that I accidentally left my bear spray in the trailer last July, and only discovered my error early this month (June). Thank God it did not blow up in there! I think I would have had to get rid of the trailer.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven... --Ecclesiastes 3
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:52 AM   #9
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About 40 years ago I learned to never leave a can of fix-a-flat in your vehicle. Same thing happened to me. The truck was parked, it got hot, the can exploded, blew the windshield out, caved the dash in, and tore the headliner from the ceiling. The can shot through the wing vent and dented the side of the house. I found it (the mangled can) 30 feet behind the truck.
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:28 AM   #10
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Name: George
Trailer: 16' Scamp SD, TV: Tacoma 4cyl
Northern Wisconsin
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Thanks for the heads up Francesca, i have a canister of the stuff under the back seat of my truck right now. I'll be moving it this morning.
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:35 AM   #11
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How time appropriate! This past weekend my step-son took a corner on an interstate entrance ramp a wee bit fast. The fire extinguisher that was in a mesh pocket in the back of the Rav4 shifted and went off. The inside of the car filled with obnoxious white "smoke". Luckily we were on the ramp so we pulled off, dusted ourselves off, and headed on down the highway with ALL the windows and the roof opened up. Nasty stuff. Turns out the extinguisher didn't have a safety pin on it (as in "pull out before shooting at fire"). Stupid design.
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:13 AM   #12
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That will sure git rid of that new truck smell. So, sorry to hear; but great information for others.
“I have tried to live my life so that my family would love me and my friends would respect me. The others can do whatever the Hell they please!” —John Wayne
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Old 07-02-2013, 06:38 PM   #13
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I have been wondering about this as our temps have gone up! I have mine in front compartment of Scamp! Sun doesn't hit but mid day know we have had close to 90. At the same time I had a bear here at the house last nite. I was just thinking since I will be heading up to bear country soon..if a bear wanted too they can rip the door off a scamp. Firearms are not welcome in campgrounds sooooo want to share next step?
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Old 07-02-2013, 06:51 PM   #14
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Name: Francesca Knowles
Trailer: '78 Trillium 4500
Jefferson County, Washington State, U.S.A.
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This isn't to say that bear spray is bad, or should be abandoned. Just protect it from the kind of temps the can in the O.P. was subjected to- likely extremely high given that it was in a closed cab, encased in a holster (black?) and in direct sunlight.

As noted by other posts, the same result might be expected from any aerosol/pressurized can in the same circumstances.

But what sets this event apart for me is the contents of the can itself, and its lingering effects. As anyone who's ever blundered into a patch of poison oak knows, that kind of irritant is very hard to get rid of once it gets on something. Stories exist of folks walking through a patch of p.o. in the spring wearing long pants, driving home in the car, and getting an outbreak the first time they wear shorts in the summer- the irritant having rubbed off their pants and onto the seat.

That pressurized can of bear spray (a very strong irritant) got into every crack and crevice when it blew- who knows if that poor victim will EVER get it all out?


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