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Animal Protection > Activist Index > Security, Protection, and Self Defense

Basic First Aid and Street Medics
Treatment for Chemical Weapons Injuries
by The Black Cross Health Collective
http://www.blackcrosscollective.org/

The first thing to remember about exposure to these chemical weapons is that it is not the worst thing that could happen to you. The hype and fear surrounding them is enormous, but in reality, if you are careful and smart, you should survive it with little problem.

The second thing to remember about exposure to these chemical weapons is that it is only temporary.

The third thing to remember about exposure to these chemical weapons is that there are many myths about treatment and prevention. Much of this misinformation is potentially dangerous. Some of it, if applied, could greatly increase or prolong a person's reaction to exposure, or at the very least provide a false sense of security.

Protection:

  • Avoid use of oils and lotions because they can trap the chemicals and thereby prolong exposure.
  • We recommend using a water or alcohol-based sunscreen (rather than oil-based). If your choice is between oil-based or nothing, we advocate using the sunscreen. Pepper sprayed on top of sunburn is not good.
  • We also recommend minimizing skin exposure by covering up as much as possible. This can also protect you from the sun, as can a hat.
  • Gas masks provide the best facial protection, if properly fitted and sealed. Alternatively, goggles (with shatter-proof lenses), respirators, even a wet bandana over the nose and mouth will help.

During a Chemical Attack:

  • STAY CALM. Panicking increases the irritation. Breathe slowly and remember it is only temporary.
  • If you see it coming or get a warning, put on protective gear, if able, try to move away or get upwind.
  • Blow your nose, rinse your mouth, cough and spit. Try not to swallow.
  • If you wear contacts, try to remove the lenses or get someone to remove them for you, with CLEAN, uncontaminated fingers.
  • DO NOT RUB IT IN.

For pepper spray in the eyes and mouth:

We recommend an eye flush using a solution of half liquid antacid (i.e. Maalox) and half water.

A bottle with a squirt cap is ideal, but a spray bottle works. Always irrigate from the inside corner of the eye towards the outside, with head tilted back and slightly towards the side being rinsed. It needs to get into the eye to help. This means that if the sprayed person says it's okay you should try to open their eye for them. They most likely won't be able/ willing to open it themselves, and opening will cause a temporary increase in pain, but it does help. This works great as a mouth rinse too.

During cold weather, do your best to keep yourself and the victim dry.

For pepper spray on the skin:

We recommend mineral oil followed immediately by alcohol. Some street medics refer to this procedure by the acronym "MOFIBA".

Thoroughly wet a 4x4 pad or similar material with mineral oil. Carefully avoiding the eyes, thoroughly rub the exposed skin with mineral oil. (You can use any vegetable oil in a pinch).

Quickly wet another 4x4 pad with rubbing alcohol, and vigorously rub off the mineral oil. Be extremely careful around the eyes.

Be careful to fully complete this procedure with each victim - any mineral oil left on the skin may act to trap any additional pepper spray on the skin.

Secondary treatments:

Secondary treatments can include: walking around with your arms outstretched, removing contaminated clothing, and taking a cool shower.

In fact, it is essential to shower and wash your clothes as soon as you are able. This shit is toxic, and will continually contaminate you and everyone around you until you get rid of it. Until then, try not to touch your eyes or your face, or other people, furniture, carpets etc. to avoid further contamination.

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