Many GC students have been involved in direct action recently—including some who were subject to violence while protesting tuition hikes outside the Board of Trustees hearing at Baruch College on November 28, 2011.
- Health and safety information: Useful medical supplies, and other preparations; how to deal with tear gas or pepper spray
- Trauma and Healing: Symptoms and healing (see also 10 ways to recognize PTSD
- A collection of guides and zines on what to bring and how to prepare for direct action events, on the kinds of weapons police use against protestors and treatment protocols against them, on how generally to stay safe in an action while still actively participating in it, and on emotional/physical care before, during, and after protests
Activist’s Guide to First Aid
This guide to activist first aid, passed on by the Medical working group of the Graduate Center General Assembly, was prepared by health care workers in Portland, Oregon after the 1999 World Trade Organization protests.
The guide contains the following information:
–What to Bring
–What to Wear
–What Not to Do
- Medication in Jail
- Medical Conditions You May See
- Complicating Conditions
- Psychiatric Conditions
- Pepper Spray and Tear Gas
The guide can be downloaded here.
Other safety tips to keep in mind when participating in direct action
Remember to bring EARPLUGS to protect against any possible use of LRAD sound cannons. If you are at the GC, you can pick up a free pair of these in Room 5409. Snacks and water are also good to bring!
If you are pepper sprayed, here are some tips & remedies:
- Avoid touching the affected area/using lotions or other oil based products: Pepper spray is oil based, so your finger oils will spread it and make the burning worse. However, you should remove your contacts immediately if you are wearing them, preferably having someone assist you (because your hands will likely have the residue).
- Apply milk to the affected area to decrease burning: Milk doesn’t get the particles out of your eyes, but it does reduce the sting. Pour cold whole milk into a large bowl and soak the area You might consider bringing a spray/water bottle of milk with you to have on hand, especially for if it gets into your eyes.
- Blink fast to produce tears: Tears help to clear out the spray
- Rinse with dish detergent and water: Use 1/4 of a mild dish detergent/soap and dilute it with 3/4 cool water. Make around 3-4 liters worth, because you may need to wash your eyes out about 10 times. Pour into large bowl and dip your face in for about 20 seconds at a time; change the water after each rinse. A wet towel containing the mixture is also an option: pat it on the area.
- Use saline solution: This well help flush extra pepper spray out of the eye after the burning has decreased; blink your eyes after applying to eliminate any remaining oils.
- Use Liquid Antacid and Water: Liquid antacid (L.A.W.) is 50 percent liquid antacid and 50 percent water. This option only applies to aluminum or magnesium hydroxide based antacids such as Maalox and not simethicone based antacids. The website says that while this is what emergency medics usually use, it’s not recommended for people without experience.
Know your cell phone rights:
“In June the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Riley v. California that police do need a warrant. This is good news for protesters, but in a heated moment law enforcement could still bend these rules.” (http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/11/25/cellphone_rights_guide_for_protesters_in_the_united_states.html). According to Lily Hay Newman at Slate, you are allowed to take photos and videos in public spaces, but the rules may be different on private property; she asserts, however, that generally law enforcement are not allowed to view/delete stuff on your smartphone sans permission. She suggests uploading media to cloud service, live stream, or social network as you capture it. A handy thing to remember is that if you are bringing your cell phone, you should make sure that it is pass-code protected. More at the link above.
Advice for International Students Engaging in Political Actions: http://studentweekofaction.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/infointernationalstudents.pdf
National Lawyers Guild number in case of arrest: 212.679.6018