Large protests are usually accompanied
by large battalions of police, who in the worst cases, injure protesters
who are involved in their democratic right to freedom of speech and assembly.
Other factors that contribute to the danger of a protest include the huge
number of people involved, and widespread panic resulting from the police
tactics of violence, intimidation and repression. Street Medics are there
to respond to the needs of the victims of these tragedies. In the face
of a lack of adequate emergency services street medics do their best to
provide a substitute for services such as emergency transport, first aid
Street Medic and Activist
by The Black Cross Health Collective
Use Your Head
- PLAN AHEAD: For essential needs,
care and supplies. Know what to expect. Know how to get assistance.
Plan for how to re-contact your buddies if separated.
- ATTITUDE: You are powerful. You
can easily withstand most of what the police throw at you, and you are
fighting for justice. Remember, pain is only temporary and you are extremely
- THE #1 WEAPON OF THE POLICE IS
FEAR: Once you control that, pepper spray and other police tactics are
- COMMON SENSE: Keep your wits,
assess what is going down and what needs to be done.
- BE CALM and FOCUSED when things
get most intense. React to danger or warning signs sooner, not later.
Watch for signs of physical and mental problems in yourself and others.
Cool down others who exhibit panic behavior.
- BEWARE OF RUMORS: They are usually
false, and foster fear. Deal with the known truth.
- DOCUMENT police actions, brutality,
(Note: the above section was written
by the A16 Medical team.)
What To Wear
- Comfortable, protective shoes
that you can run in
- Clothing covering all your skin
to protect from sun and pepper spray exposure.
- Shatter-resistant eye protection
(i.e. sunglasses, swim goggles, or gas mask)
- Bandana to cover nose and mouth
soaked in water or vinegar, it can aid in breathing during chemical
- Weather-related gear (i.e. rain
gear, sun hat, winter clothing)
- Heavy-duty gloves if you plan
to handle hot tear gas canisters
- Fresh clothes in plastic bag
(in case yours get contaminated by chemical weapons)
- A cap or a hat to protect you
from the sun and from chemical weapons
What To Bring
- Lots of water in a plastic bottle
with squirt or spray top, to drink and to wash off your skin or eyes,
- Energy snacks
- Identification and/or emergency
contact information ONLY if you want to be cited out of jail in the
event of arrest
- Just enough money for pay-phone,
- Watch, paper, pen for accurate
documentation of events, police brutality, injuries
- Water- or alcohol-based sunscreen
- Inhaler, epipen, insulin or other
meds if applicable
- Several days of prescription
medication and doctor's note in case of arrest
- Menstrual pads, if needed. Avoid
using tampons - if you're arrested you may not have a chance to change
it (tampons left in more than six hours increase your risk of developing
toxic shock syndrome)
Packing Your First Aid Kit
We've organized this list into 2
rough sections- things we believe most people will want to have in a complete
kit in the first section and extras in the second section. We like the
extras, and various ones of us carry more or less from the second list
depending on the specific action (i.e. is it raining or snowing, is it
100 degrees outside), how much room we have in our pack, and finally what
we both have experience using and have access to. Things like epipen and
several of the herbs in the second section will only be useful if you
can not only get them but also use them responsibly.
Finally give some though to your
pack- both the pack itself (most of us use shoulder bags as they afford
quicker and easier access on the fly) and how it's packed. What do you
want on the outside for easy access? what needs to be kept dry? What things
do you often or always use together so should be kept together? We all
change our packs and how they're packed around a lot before we find the
combination that works for us.
- Water- preferably in a sport-
- Non-latex gloves
- Gauze - we like individually
wrapped 4x4's best but clean 4x4 's or smaller are fine too
- Maalox or other liquid antacid
mixed 1:1 with water in a spray or sport-top bottle
- Band-Aids (S, M, L)
- Antiseptic wash (like witch hazel
- Paper tape
- Aspirin- just a few
- Ibuprofen- also just a bit
- Arnica (homeopathic)
- Rescue remedy
- Pen and paper
- Emergen-C powder or other re-hydration
- Paper bag
- Sun screen (alcohol based)
- Mineral (or other) oil and alcohol
(only if you fully understand how to use them!)
- Candy bar
- Safety pin or 2
The extras (remember
no one carries all of this so pick and choose- they're not listed in the
order of importance)
- Sam splint
- Ace bandage
- Cake icing tube (diabetic emergencies)
- Calendula / St. John's Wort /
- Tampons (good for nose bleeds
- Topical antibiotic ointment
- Space blanket
- Clean t-shirt sealed in a bag
- Extra plastic bags
- Bandage scissors
- EMT shears
- Chinese burn salve
- Tongue depressors (for splinting
- Flash light
- Mole skin
- Ice pack
- CPR face shield
- Cloth sling
What Not To Do
- Don't put Vaseline, mineral oil,
oil-based sunscreen or moisturizers on skin as they can trap chemicals.
- Don't wear contact lenses, which
can trap irritating chemicals underneath.
- Don't wear things which can easily
be grabbed (i.e. Dangly earrings or other jewelry, ties, loose hair).
- Don't go to the demo alone, if
you can help it - go with an affinity group or some friends who know
- Don't forget to eat food and
DRINK LOTS OF WATER.
Medication in Jail
If you are risking arrest and take
medication for any health condition that might pose serious problems were
your medication to be interrupted (such as: behavioral disorders, HIV,
diabetes, hypertension), you should be aware that you may not have access
to proper medication while you are in jail.
A letter from a doctor will help.
Three copies of the letter are needed, one for the legal team, one for
the medical team (these will be kept completely confidential) and one
for you. It should include the following information: your name, diagnosis,
that you must have access at all times to your medication, a list of all
meds that you require, a statement that you must be allowed to keep meds
on your person so that they can be properly administered, and that no
substitutions are acceptable. Since your name will be on the document,
you may want to hide it on your body as a sort of insurance policy - perhaps
you won't need it and then could eat it and participate in jail solidarity
tactics, but perhaps you'll be worn out already at the time of arrest
and will want to cite out in order to take care of yourself.
Better to cite out than pass out.
Your meds will need to be in their original prescription bottle in order
for you to keep them, but you also could conceal an emergency supply on
your person if you want.
Another option to greater ensure
your ability to participate in solidarity is to have the document as described
above but with a photo of yourself rather than your name. Your prescription
bottle would then need to have your name cut out of the label, while leaving
the rest of the label intact.
Please make sure that your affinity
group and the legal team is aware of your needs so they can help care
and advocate for you.