First, let’s start with the basics:
Electricity is a flow of energy, or more specifically a flow of electric charge within a conductor. That conductor can be a copper wire, or it can be the human body. Much like water flows through a pipe, electrons flow through a wire. When we measure electricity, there are two key measures – voltage, measured in volts, & current, measured in amperes.
Voltage is similar to the pressure in a water hose. The voltage provides the “pressure” to push an electric current through the wire.
Current is the measure of the actual flow of electricity – how many electrons are actually flowing through the wire.
In our analogy to flowing water, voltage is like pressure, measured in pounds per square inch. Current is the flow rate, similar to gallons per second in our water analogy.
By way of analogy, let’s compare a waterfall to rainfall. The pressure or voltage behind each droplet of water in the waterfall is actually a lot less than for each rain drop – because the rain drop is falling from a much greater height. So, the “voltage” of this waterfall is much less than for rain.
However, the rate of flow or “current” for the waterfall is much, much higher than for the rain, which falls in small droplets separated in space & time compared to the continuous flow of the waterfall. Standing under the waterfall would certainly be a very dangerous place to be – much more so than in the rain. Similarly, being exposed to a high current electrical current – like the one out of your wall outlet, can be very dangerous, even at moderate voltages like 110 volts.
Exposure to high voltage, low current shocks – such as a static discharge on a dry day, is far less dangerous. Static shocks regularly exceed 30,000 volts, yet they deliver very low amounts of electric charge, & there has never been a reported injury directly from the effects of a static shock, although there have been some secondary injuries from people who were surprised & may have fallen, etc.
When we think about electricity, the first term to come to mind is usually “volts.” This is because our electric power grid is a fixed voltage system, & is rated in volts.
However, when we talk about electricity safety, the current in amperes is much more critical than voltage. For example, a TASER CEW has about a tenth of the peak current of a static shock.
So, if voltage is not the key factor in making an electrical stimulation effective, why does a TASER CEW have a high peak voltage?
The rainfall analogy is a very good one for a TASER CEW discharge. The drops of rain are separated by time & space such that the actual “current” or flow of water down from the sky is quite small.
So, this naturally begs the question – if the TASER CEW output current is so low, how can it be effective in stopping a violent subject?
The answer is because the TASER current does not rely on brute force, or on sheer power. Instead, the CEW’s pulsed output is really an elegant approach to incapacitating violent persons. Our TASER CEW pulses mimic the electrical signals used within the human body to communicate between the brain & the muscles. It simulates the pulsed communications used within the nerves, & interferes with communication – like static on the telephone lines within the body. When the device is on, a person cannot do controlled movements.
Sometimes people will ask “Isn’t electricity dangerous?” The answer is – well yes, it can be. But electricity is actually necessary for life – we literally cannot live without it.
Electrical pulses control every thought we have, every breath we take, every sensation we feel, every sight we see, every sound we hear – every complex life process depends on these electrical signals within our bodies that occur billions of times every second.
The brain is like an incredibly complex conductor, leading a string section of incomprehensible complexity. As the brain uses electrical “pings” to stimulate the nerves in a complex & highly coordinated fashion, consciousness emerges & neuromuscular control becomes possible.
TASER plants 3,000 trees to represent lives saved by ECDs since first deployment 19 years ago
TASER International, Inc. (NASDAQ: TASR), is sponsoring the planting of 3,000 trees through Arbor Day Foundation in recognition of the estimated 100,000 lives saved from death or serious personal injury by TASER® brand electronic control devices (ECDs) on Dec. 13, 19 years after the company was founded.
By giving new life to its community, TASER seeks to represent how its life-saving ECDs have made a difference in both law enforcement officers’ and citizens’ lives since the first devices were deployed in 1994.
TASER partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation because of the organization’s ongoing dedication to fostering community health through planting and nurturing trees, while TASER is empowering people around the world to provide the best safety and security for their communities. TASER selected its donations to support domestic reforestation projects of greatest need in California and Florida (representing the U.S. from east to west), as well as an international reforestation project in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest (representing TASER’s international presence).
Brothers Rick and Tom Smith founded TASER in September 1993 to create safer personal protection alternatives, while using technologies to maximize public safety and minimize the potential for misuse. Their inspiration followed the tragic deaths of Rick’s two former high school football teammates who were murdered in a road rage incident. “Tom and I knew we wanted to create technology that could significantly change our culture and be a positive disruptive force that could revolutionize both personal safety and law enforcement by preventing situations like this personal tragedy in the future,” said CEO Rick Smith. “We wanted to commemorate the preservation of life by partnering with a foundation that gives new life to our world’s forests.”
“Undoubtedly our Saves Counter hitting the 100,000 milestone is a critical reminder to our employees and the brave men and women of law enforcement about the valuable work they do every day,” said Rick Smith. “The Saves Counter is linked not just to the math behind the estimate, but to videos and reports of the heroic efforts of law enforcement officers to save lives with ECDs. It is with sincere gratitude that we thank these brave men and women for the risks that take every day to keep our communities safe.”
Methodology and Background
TASER’s “Saves Counter” tracks estimates of the number of people whose lives have been saved from potential death or serious injury using TASER® devices and the number of times law enforcement uses TASER ECDs in the field. The Saves Counter is posted on the home page of TASER.com.
As of Sept. 30, 2012, TASER International has sold approximately 700,000 TASER ECDs in 107 countries to more than 16,800 law enforcement and military agencies. In addition, approximately 255,000 TASER ECDs have been sold to the general public. The milestone coincides with TASER’s recent announcement that it reached a four-year high with earnings, seeing revenues up 18 percent to 28.8 million at the end of the third quarter.
The Saves Counter was developed based on a statistical analysis of TASER usage patterns in the more than 16,800 agencies using TASER ECDs today. Some key statistics:
About Arbor Day Foundation
The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization of one million members, with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at www.arborday.org, or by visiting the Foundation on Facebook, Twitter or the Foundation’s blog.
According to an article by Michael Hewlett in the Winston-Salem Journal from July 30, 2012, a police sergeant may have saved a man’s life from excited delirium. Interestingly, this incident became the basis of a case report published online May 31, 2012 in the Journal of Emergency Medicine.
In 2008, Sgt John Morris of the Winston-Salem police received a call concerning a 30-year-old man confronting people. Even though it was hot, the man was sweating profusely and babbling. “When they got there, they knew something was not right with this gentleman,” he said. “The things he said didn’t make sense.”
A year before this incident, Sgt. Morris had received excited delirium training and therefore recognized the classic symptoms of excited delirium that the man was experiencing. Fortunately, EMS staff were consulted and officers were able to calm the man down get him treatment at the emergency room at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. To learn about excited delirium review this insightful White Paper Report on Excited Delirium Syndrome, American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Excited Delirium Task Force from September 10, 2009
Upon examination, doctors determined that he man had an abnormal cardiac condition known as long QT syndrome; he was treated and recovered fully. However, this was a crucial factor in offering a possible explanation as to why so many people with excited delirium die suddenly in police custody and this incident may offer some important clues.
Dr. William Bozeman, associate professor of emergency medicine at Baptist, co-wrote a case report about this incident with Dr. James Winslow, also of Baptist, and Dr. Karim Ali of the Emory University School of Medicine which published on May 31, 2012 in the Journal of Emergency Medicine.
Bozeman said the 2008 case is significant because it provides a clue as to why many people afflicted with excited delirium die suddenly. At least 200 people a year die in police custody without any explanation and many of who had suffered from excited delirium, Dr. Bozeman said. The issue has been controversial because some have attributed those deaths to police brutality, he said. Further, autopsies and toxicology reports have offered few explanations for why many of these people died, Bozeman said.
In this specific case doctors were able to see an abnormality on the man’s electrocardiogram and determined he had long QT syndrome which is very dangerous as Dr. Bozeman said, “They could drop dead without any warning.”
While the 2008 incident doesn’t provide a clear link between long QT syndrome and excited delirium, but it does offer a possible explanation worth of research according to Dr. Bozeman. Over the past decade, with excited delirium’s increased awareness, law enforcement officers have received increased training on how to recognize the syndrome and how to use nonviolent ways to deal with people exhibiting these symptoms. EMS are also getting more training on how to treat people before taking them to the hospital. Both of these group need to train officers and EMS that excited delirium needs to be treated as as a medical crisis.
Sgt. Morris said these incidents are challenging since police officers have to find ways to get these people under control so they can get medical attention. Often, they don’t respond well to things such as pepper spray because they’re amped up on adrenaline, he said.
“The public needs to understand we’re not controlling this person to take them to jail,” said Sgt. Morris. “We’re controlling them to get them medical care.”
“This case demonstrates beautifully that that approach can be lifesaving,” Dr. Bozeman said.
Click this link for a VIDEO: Sgt. John Morris talks about a condition known as Excited Delirium
It’s another ‘TASER death’ headline failure – “Mom who choked and punched son, 3, while ‘high on bath salts’ pictured running naked through street – moments before she was Tasered to death.” An autopsy hasn’t been completed to determine a cause of death, yet this UK news site’s headline claims she was ‘TASERed to death.’ It seems that TASER safety is always called into question. Why is it that people who are acting bizarrely & are possibly on some sort of dangerous drug suddenly die after a TASER deployment & the media regularly speculates that the TASER ECD caused the death? It doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that perhaps the hazardous pharmaceuticals caused this person to die?
Quite honestly, speculation should be left out of the headlines, don’t you think?