According to the Street Medic Wiki, street medics, or action medics, are volunteers with varying degrees of medical training who attend protests and demonstrations to provide medical care such as first aid. Unlike emergency medical technicians, who work for state-sponsored institutions, street medics operate as civilians, and are not protected from arrest.
Street medic organizations also run low-income herbal health clinics, wellness clinics for migrant workers, and temporary family practice clinics to support people who are organizing for self-defense or advocating for their rights. A group of street medics founded the first health clinic to open in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
If you are planning to participate in a protest where you might be arrested, remember the following:
- Don’t wear contact lenses – they can trap pepper spray in your eye, causing permanent damage. Glasses shield you from spray.
- If you take prescription drugs, bring your medication in its original pill bottle (with the prescription written on the bottle) and bring enough to last you 2-3 days (in case you are detained for a longer period of time). In case of arrest, you want your necessary meds with you. Be sure to inform a buddy and the legal team if you take medication.
- Avoid tampons in case you can’t change it every eight hours in case of arrest or you’re too busy. No toxic shock syndrome please!
- Asthmatics: bring inhalers
- Bring snacks, have water regularly.
- Dress in warm layers!
- If you see a group of people being pepper sprayed, the people who are screaming are going to be fine – people who are silent after being pepper sprayed are most likely having an asthmatic reaction and need to receive immediate medical attention.
- If you are not asthmatic and you are pepper sprayed, don’t freak out! Call for a medic and you’ll feel better in a few minutes. When the situation has calmed down, change your clothes and take a shower in cold water.
- For handcuffs: spread your fingers as they are put on. ADVOCATE for yourself if they are too tight.
- There will also be a fully staffed clinic that will run continuously during the occupation.
Tampons & pads
Energy/granola bars (no peanuts) & juice
N95 respirator masks
Liquid antacid (maalox) – to dilute 50/50 with water
Disposable/pocket CPR masks
Immunity-boosting herbs like echinacea
Finally, here’s a guide for how to stay healthy during the protest actions from your friendly Boston Street Medics. Please read it!