Friday, September 25, 2009

Street Medics Give Aid

Nearly every time you see a street protest this week you can expect to see a group of people who call themselves “street medics.” The medics are usually on the fringe of the rallies and marches and even if they are wearing the same dark colors favored by many of the protesters you can easily identify them. Just look for the red crosses taped to their clothes and the first aid kits with the street medic logo. The logo features a raised fist with a serpent wrapping up the arm. They travel in groups and don’t like to give their names but they say they have been busy “giving treatment to those looking to exercise their rights.” Most of the treatments are for exposure to pepper spray or other crowd dispersal gas. One Street medic who says he is a certified wilderness first responders says the treatment is a wash with saline solution followed by a liquid antacid and water. Some of the street medics are EMTs and med students. Some are veterans of several protests and others are seeing their first action. The medics usually carry masks and goggles to protect their eyes and lungs while they give aid but such equipment could be deemed illegal if the medics are using it to avoid being dispersed by police. The Wilderness first responder says that is a risk but it is “a problem to make it illegal to protect ones respiratory system.” There is no centralized authority over the medics and they describe them selves as a “collective.”

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