Crystal-based Crotega Develops Spray To Address Hospital Violence
A Crystal company’s self-defense spray is aiming to keep those on the front lines safe with fewer risks.
Health care and social assistance jobs continue to sustain the most on-site injuries of any American private injury. That’s according to 2022 data reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Those numbers bring safety concerns in the health care industry to the forefront.
Jody Crowe, CEO of Crystal startup Crotega, said he has just the product to keep everyone safe. He brought it to market in 2021.
“After the Buffalo shooting, we approached hospitals and we said ‘We had something that we think we need to introduce to you,'” Crowe recalled.
That “something” is Repuls, a product similar to pepper spray, but with a different chemical makeup. Repuls is water-based. It uses a chemical found in citrus as an eye irritant.
Crowed says Repuls creates involuntary eye closure with fewer after-effects. He said it takes minutes to clean up by using a bottle of water and does not affect anyone but the target. That’s different from pepper spray, which could take hours to remove and impacts the surrounding area.
“I could spray one individual 10 feet away from me, and if there are four or five other people around them, but the only person who is going to be impacted is the one who gets this in the face,” Crowe said.
Shielding the Most Vulnerable
Crowe’s mission is personal. He’s a longtime educator from northern Minnesota. He also wrote “The Fatal Link,” a book on the connection between fetal alcohol exposure and school shooters.
The Crotega venture started in 2017 with his SentriZone product, which deploys the Repuls spray from a ceiling at the press of a button.
“Building a shield inside of schools was my intent,” Crowe said.
The mission translates to hospitals, where staff have increasingly encountered violence in high-pressure situations. Crowe said in conversations with hospital staff, he learned the emergency room is the most vulnerable space.
“I don’t think the general public knows the amount of violence that happens in hospital setting,” Crowe said.
Crowe estimates that more than 75 percent of Twin Cities area hospitals now have Repuls on hand.
“That can fill that slot, that gap where they don’t have to go to an increasing use of force,” Crowe said.
The product is available on Crotega’s website for public safety use. According to its website, the retail project is coming soon.