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The Origin Story of Presidia Gel

Read about how Presidia Gel and Reflex Remove came to be.

The development story of Presidia Gel begins with inventor and former Army MP Steve Mangold, who patented the first pistol style spray head (aka Reflex™ trigger) in 2017. In June of that year at a meeting in Missoula, Mr. Mangold presented fellow Montanan and entrepreneur Joe Anderson with the possibility that his invention might also be an effective next-generation non-lethal alternative for home defense and animal deterrence.

Prior to launching his entrepreneurial career, Mr. Anderson had been an associate at San Francisco law firm Pettit & Martin that was the site of a mass shooting that resulted in the death of friends and colleagues. In total nine were killed and six injured. This experience provided a strong impetus for Mr. Anderson to help reduce the potential for workplace violence. Consequently, he realized the potential that Mr. Mangold’s invention might yield for an improved non-lethal means of protection.

A meeting with Shawn Paul propelled Anderson to seek development of a new incapacitating chemical agent to combine with the novel Reflex™ trigger. Mr. Paul is now the Enterprise Director of Physical Security, Safety and Emergency Management Providence St Joseph’s

Health Care, a retired police lieutenant, and US Army Lieutenant, but in September 2017 he was the Director of Security at Missoula’s St. Patrick’s Hospital tasked by corporate-level Providence with mitigating risk to employees and patients from the growing threat of violence in health care settings.

The healthcare industry has recently begun to address workplace violence through admonitions by OSHA and the Joint Commission. Paul had implemented a version of active shooter “Run/Hide/Fight” instruction in his hospitals, including the suggestion that caregivers keep wasp spray or similar improvised weapons at hand to use in self-defense if circumstances demand. Risk mitigation review of his plans were overwhelmingly positive except for the issuing of wasp spray. It was deemed to be a liability risk and minimally effective as a deterrent.

Mr. Paul recognized that the Reflex Protect spray head would be easy to train caregivers on with its intuitive and highly accurate use, but he explained that OC was useless in the sensitive healthcare environment due to the well-known risks outlined above. He informed Mr. Anderson that, although there was tremendous need for an active defense solution for healthcare workers and hospitals, an OCbased tool was not an option. The problem of cross-contamination had to be rectified.

The solution came from thinking outside the box with a trusted non-lethal self-defense chemical agent. CS is most frequently deployed as a tear gas effective for moving crowds but not incapacitating them. Reflex Protect wondered if CS produced in a nonatomizing gel form, especially if formulated to be particularly sticky, might solve the cross-contamination problems presented.

After a series of tests and improvements, the team hit upon a novel (and proprietary trade secret) CS formulation that not only resolved the cross-contamination issues that generally rendered OC useless indoors, but also drastically increased the speed of fully incapacitating effects on the targeted subject. Presidia Gel is the result – a viscous liquid that is target specific, fast acting, and unlikely to affect innocents. This met Mr. Paul’s criteria for a “hospital safe” active defense solution and it has since been adopted by numerous Providence facilities.

Deployed through the patented Reflex spray head, Presidia Gel sprays a tight and accurately targetable stream up to 18 feet. The sticky liquid composition of the proprietary formulation results in little to no side splatter. Numerous repeated tests have shown that Presidia Gel targeting and striking a subject’s face will not impact a person standing right next to the subject (see image below). The product does not aerosolize or displace oxygen. Presidia Gel is not an airborne agent. Instructor spraying wall between unaffected officers in SWAT training course demonstrating lack of cross contamination.

Presidia Gel’s active ingredient remains Chlorobenzalmalononitrile, the same CS molecule contained in tear gas and well-known through decades of study, yet it avoids the traditional CS risks described above. It is a potent lachrymator, meaning it causes immediate, involuntary eye closure and copious tearing. Presidia Gel affects sensitive tissue and mucous membranes (e.g. eyes, nose, mouth) through direct contact. There is an immediate and intense sensation of pain. Time to debilitation is usually less than five seconds. Its effects on skin apart from mucous tissue result in a merely moderate burning sensation.

Reflex Remove®

In addition to raising the problem of cross-contamination, Mr. Paul pointed out to Mr. Anderson that the ideal healthcare spray solution would also benefit from an effective decontaminant. Mr. Paul emphasized that healthcare workers are trained to do no harm and minimize suffering. Therefore, the failsafe ability to completely decontaminate any subject rapidly would ideally also be requisite.

Mr. Anderson turned to chemists with expertise in detergents and surfactants, including involvement in the development of OxiClean™ stain remover. After extensive testing the novel, patent-pending Reflex Remove decontaminant was formulated.

Dozens of demonstrations show that Reflex Remove results in relief beginning on contact. Within several seconds sprayed individuals experience a dramatic reduction in pain. Near normal function is restored within minutes. Residual mild eye irritation may persist for several hours. Reflex Remove decontaminates surfaces and equipment within 30 seconds.

Mr. Paul was witness to the initial demonstrations of what the company came to call the “Reflex Protect® Active Defense Solution”. He reported that never in his military or law enforcement career had he seen such a profoundly incapacitating defense product nor its subsequent rapid decontamination. He declared the initial tests a complete success and began the process of working with his superiors to carry out a pilot program that eventually resulted in the widespread adoption of Presidia Gel in the western Providence health system.


Why Reflex Protect Tactical?

We are a safety preparedness company rewriting the rules about what’s possible with less-lethal defense. Reflex Protect® Tactical has taken a fresh look at active defense sprays and created an insanely effective and game changing defense spray and decontaminant that law enforcement is calling “a game changer.”

Our products are the fastest acting on the market and vetted by law enforcement. Certified training is also available.

Contact us today!


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