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Activists' Guide To First Aid/Protective Gear (against tear gas and pepper spray)

by LA Activist Doctor Friday, Mar. 21, 2003 at 3:59 PM

Activists' Guide To Preparation/First Aid/Protective Gear from the Black Cross Health Collective. This info rocks - the healers who put it together draw on their experience at Seattle and all the big North American demos since then They (and their friends) even field tested remedies for pepper spray! First Aid for Radicals and Activists Fight the power, do no harm http://www.blackcrosscollective.org/beprepared.html

First Aid for Radicals and Activists

Fight the power, do no harm



http://www.blackcrosscollective.org/beprepared.html

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 we are extremely strong.

* THE #1 WEAPON OF THE POLICE IS FEAR: Once you control that, pepper spray and other police tactics are easily manageable.

* 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, and injuries.

(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 exposure

* 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 top, to drink and to wash off your skin or eyes, if needed

* 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, food, transportation

* 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

* First aid kit recommendations here (HTML) or here (plain text)

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 you well.

* 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.

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