Trainings trainings trainings!

We have a weekend of training ahead of us. It isn’t too late to join us! If you cannot be trained as a medic, please volunteer on Sunday January 29 from 2pm on as a patient! Please email coloradostreetmedics(a) to get involved.

Basic Street Medic Training

January 28-29

27 Social Center (2727 W. 27th Ave Unit D)

This basic training provides a basic overview of street medicine. This introductory workshop will teach first aid for medical, traumatic and emotional emergencies as well as other emergency support skills that are useful both in the streets and in our communities.

PLEASE NOTE! This is a two day training.
January 28: 10:00am-6:00pm
January 29: 10:00am-6:00pm

$5 to $50 suggested donation, no one turned away for lack of funds
Lunch, supplies and training literature provided.
We will also have some supplies for sale/donation

Register for the training by e-mailing coloradostreetmedics(a) Please let us know if you need childcare or have any other accessibility concerns.

While previous training and experience is always helpful, it is NOT required for participation.

RSVP to coloradostreetmedics(a) to get involved.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Call for Submissions: Street Medic Anthology

I am working on a project to create an anthology of the history of street medicine and seeking contributions. This anthology will be published and distributed as a benefit for participating Street Medic collectives.

I am looking for:
– personal essays about participating in the medics
– how you were helped by a medic
– action report-backs/narratives
– interviews
– stories about individual collectives
– street medic magic tricks
– photos
– creative, exciting or funny additions

Please e-mail submissions or questions to Anonymous submissions are accepted. Please do not submit any content identifying individuals without their explicit permission. Also, please keep anti-oppression/street medic values, patient confidentiality and good security culture high priorities.

Deadline for submissions: March 29, 2012

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

DPD Denies Medics Access to Unconscious, Unresponsive Patient

Press Release

For Immediate Release

November 13, 2011

Contact: Colorado Street Medics, 303-570-9362

Denver Police Department officers clad in riot gear spray the crowd with fire extinguishers and pepper spray to clear Civic Center Park chasing demonstrators to the street

November 12, 2011: After riot police stormed Civic Center Park and chased protesters to other locations, one demonstrator was observed being struck by officers and falling motionless on the traffic median dividing Colfax at Broadway.

Colorado Street Medics immediately attempted to access this patient to assess and provide first aid. SWAT officers refused to allow the medics access to this patient. The officer commanding the line refused to acknowledge medics when they attempted to explain concerns for the unconscious, unresponsive patient.

Police allowed an untrained bystander access to the patient, but refused to allow medics from Colorado Street Medics to access the patient. Officers threatened Colorado Street Medic volunteers with arrest if they attempted to approach the patient. When asked for their name and badge number, the officers refused to provide this information stating, “We don’t have to. That is not the law.”

This SWAT officer refused CSM access to an unconscious and unresponsive patient as well as refusing to provide his name or badge number when it was requested by volunteers.

Colorado Street Medic volunteers attempted to explain concern for serious bodily injuries as the patient lay on the traffic

median unconscious and non-reactive to heavy traffic, bystanders and sirens around them. When SWAT officers pushed the medics away, Denver Paramedics had not yet arrived to treat the patient.

Colorado Street Medics are a volunteer first aid and community health organization that serves social movements. They have worked in the City of Denver and have had successful arrangements with Denver Paramedics, Denver Police Department and other state agencies in past events such as the Democratic National Convention in 2008 that improved patient care, handoffs and outcomes.

Across the board, research indicates that immediate intervention greatly improves patient outcomes and reduces mortality. Street Medics could have provided support for this individual’s airway, breathing and immobilizing his spine among other things while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

Colorado Street Medics condemn this blatant disregard for the wellbeing of an individual with potentially life-threatening injuries. Furthermore, Colorado Street Medics demand that officers be held accountable for both their excessive force and disregard to policy requiring them to provide identifying information to the public.



Filed under Uncategorized

Colorado Street Medic and Thunderdome Activist Illegally Detained By Ohio State Troopers

While on a road trip to Philadelphia, two Denver activists were detained and had their vehicle searched without a warrant by Ohio State Troopers. Three State Patrol vehicles, a K9 Unit Van and six officers pulled the activists over outside of Eden, Ohio.

Mel, a key organizer for medical relief surrounding Occupy Denver and Colorado Street Medic, was held in the back of a police car. Her phone was taken from her and troopers stated she did not have the right to call an attorney until she had been arrested. Mel’s car was searched without a warrant and the inside was dismantled with a screwdriver. Mel was repeatedly questioned about the purpose of her trip. State Troopers stated Mel was being help for “investigatory detention,” and refused to provide names, badge numbers or any further explanation.

Crunchy, an organizer of the Thunderdome—one of Denver’s most prolific peoples’ kitchens—was thrown into a K9 unit van with a police dog and held for approximately one and a half hours. When it was suggested that Crunchy, a young black man, was being racially profiled the Troopers mocked the activists.

Mel, Crunchy and their community allies are requesting immediate action be taken.

1. Mel and Crunchy need legal resources for the State of Ohio. Please send any resources to zoethemedic(a)

2. Please call and email Ohio State Patrol: 1-877-7-PATROL (1-877-772-8765), and tell them that they are being watched by all of our communities.

An injury to one is an injury to all!


Filed under Uncategorized

Basic Street Medic Training

This basic training provides a basic overview of street medicine. This introductory workshop will teach first aid for medical, traumatic and emotional emergencies as well as other emergency support skills that are useful both in the streets and in our communities.

PLEASE NOTE! This is a two day training.
November 19: 11:30am-7:00pm
November 20: 9:00am-4:00pm

$5 to $50 suggested donation, no one turned away for lack of funds
Lunch, supplies and training literature provided.

Register for the training by e-mailing coloradostreetmedics(a) Please let us know if you need childcare or have any other accessibility concerns.

While previous training and experience is always helpful, it is NOT required for participation.
If you cannot attend the training, but would like to support it we need volunteers. Please email coloradostreetmedics(a) to get involved.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Report Back from Occupy Denver Week of Oct. 25

Colorado Street Medics and the rest of the 4077 Medical Unit (the clinicians, first aid providers and allies at Occupy Denver) had our work cut out for us last week. Here’s a narrative from one medic about the events.

Occupy Denver's first snow.

The week kicked off with the first major snow of the season. Temperatures dropped as low at 17 degrees and came topped with cold, wet snow. The City of Denver will not allow tents, canopies or any other structures to be erected. Furthermore, the park curfew is being strictly enforced, leaving 24/7 Occupiers to camp on the sidewalk. The 4077 Medical Unit spent a frigid snowy night with campers attempting to keep everyone warm, dry and safe. In collaboration with our friends in the Thunderdome–Occupy Denver’s kitchen which is arguably the most resilient and devoted peoples’ kitchen in existence–medics worked to improvise camping pads, wrap people in tarps, keep warm liquids available, drying wet gear and get the vulnerable and cold to safer spaces for sleeping and rewarming. In total, 5 patients were sent to the hospital. The 4077 Medical Unity is working with community members to find a more sustainable option to keep a 24/7 presence and minimize injury risks.

Grills were used to cook food, heat water for tea and warm hands during the frigid nights

Before it was mentioned that the City of Denver is not allowing tents. This came to be after Occupy Denver was raided and kicked out of the State-owned Lincoln Park directly across from the State Capitol Building three weeks ago. Since then, even sight of a tent at the new location–Civic Center Park on Broadway between Colfax and 14th–brought heavy police presence. On Wednesday night, several demonstrators erected tents to protest the City’s endangerment of protesters. One man was dragged from his tent and arrested. Another demonstrator built an igloo out of snow. Twelve police officers broke the igloo down with snow shovels and arrested its occupant.

As is custom, Saturday hosted a march and gathering from Civic Center Park through downtown. Approximately 1000 people marched in the streets, playing music and making occasional stops for some to yell at pertinent buildings (the jail, the Fed) and others to have dance parties. The march went over extremely well. The assembly then headed to the Capitol steps where it was met by riot police blocking off the steps and the entrance to the building.

The tent action for 10/29/2011

At the same time, civil disobedience was being mobilized to erect tents in Civic Center Park. Numerous tents were erected, including a canopy over the Thunderdome. March participants returned to the park to support this action. As tents were in the process of construction on the south side of the park, a block of riot police advanced lead by Lieutenant James Henning and, without warning, began tearing down tents and making arrests. The crowd amassed on the site.

Police responded with heavy force, striking people with batons and pepper spray. When one man was knocked to the ground after being hit in the head, a CSM medic attempted to aid him and was struck with a baton and pepper sprayed. Pepper balls were fired on demonstrators and medics. One man, who had climbed a tree to film the event, was shot out of it with pepper balls.

Lieutenant James Henning grabs for his gun

At one point in time, after falling to the ground, Lieutenant Henning reached for his gun while surrounded by unarmed protesters.

The events that followed were a blur. Our medical team was overwhelmed with the number of patients. Between two or three medics, we are estimating that 45 patients were treated for injuries in less than an hour, including a man that was shot in the face with a pepper ball (paint balls filled with concentrated capsaicin powder) and was sent to the hospital for treatment. This does not count numerous pepper spray patients that allies trained to do eyewashes assisted.

Police advance on Occupy Denver with pepper ball guns and batons

Medics also had a difficult time treating patients because other participants were not supporting them and their space. Medics reported being grabbed, picked up and pushed off of their patients. Furthermore, untrained individuals were promoting false and dangerous information such as using baby shampoo and vinegar for eye washes. One medic was nearly assaulted by such an individual when they explained this was not safe practice. Self proclaimed medical providers without street experience screamed at medics as they attempted to evacuate, treat and calm patients.

Pepper ball injuries

Once this situation diffused, police waited for several hours to advance on the second half of the camp. They approached the north side in full riot gear including gas masks armed with tear gas canisters, pepper spray and more pepper balls. Ten people were arrested in front of the Thunderdome.

After the demonstration several medics provided hospital support for community members that were arrested and suffered injuries. Colorado Street Medics received several reports from jail that arrestees were not receiving medical treatment for injuries.

Reno, a 49 year old disabled veteran, being treated in the hospital for back, neck and shoulder injuries after his arrest. Reno said that being at Occupy Denver allows him to still fight for his country.

Following this weekend, Colorado Street Medics and the 4077 Medical Team have identified acute needs to support this movement.

1. Support from the community when we are treating patients. The best thing you can do is form a circle around us, give our patients privacy and keep others away. There are many people with other medical training that can be of help, but in an emergency, we need to be able to treat our patients without others interfering.

2. Promote solid information. Street Medic Wiki has extensive information available for you to read and do self care. Be aware that reading materials does not make you a Street Medic. Also, reference this post for our Chemical Weapons 101. Assume all other treatments are false and dangerous until you get a chance to research them or talk to Street Medics.

3. Get trained as a medic. Our next training is November 19 and 20. We need medics, but we need them to have the right skill set. Please come, even if you don’t intend to run as a medic, so that you have the information. Email zoethemedic(a) for info.

5. Donate to us. We need supplies. We need money. We need people to be volunteer patients for our medic training. We need food for our medic training. We need help transporting and sorting supplies. There are so many Email zoethemedic(a) for info.

Finally, it is imperative that we thank our allies that were with us in the streets, working the legal line, serving up food, gathering supplies, filming the events, representing folks in court, doing court watch, bailing people of out jail and the other incredibly hard work, not only this Saturday, but as a prolonged support effort for Occupy Denver. Thanks to Denver ABC, West Denver Copwatch, The Thunderdome and National Lawyer’s Guild.


Filed under Uncategorized

Chemical Weapons 101

There is a lot of bad information circulating around Occupy Denver about chemical weapons and how to treat them. Here are our protocols that we use for Tear Gas and Pepper Spray. Circulate very widely.

Please use this information to prepare yourself and your friends. To run as a Street Medic, please attend a training. You can also attend health and safety classes taught by Street Medics for more in depth education.

***Remember that none of these effects are universal. People respond very differently to chemical weapons***

***ALSO! These weapons are primarily weapons of fear. One of the best things everyone can do is help spread calm to panicking people, walk away from the scene (don’t run!) and get people to medics.***

Being Prepared

– NEVER wear contacts to a demonstration.

– Dress in layers

– Wear sunscreen regularly every day year-round, especially in Colorado. Oil-free is best, but in Colorado particularly it is always better to wear sunscreen rather than be exposed to chemical weapons on a sunburn

– Wear closed toed shoes that are broken in with socks

– Do not wear dangling earrings. Take out facial piercings

– Bring a change of clothing (at least a shirt) sealed in a plastic bag

– Do not bring animals to a demonstration

– Be aware that there are additional health risks posed to children, elders, people with chronic medical problems (like asthma, COPD and heart conditions) and those that are pregnant. Street Medics strongly encourage these groups of people to avoid scenes with potential for chemical weapons (i.e. police are holding them, in riot gear, etc)

Tear Gas

Deployed by canisters which are fired or thrown in grenades into a crowd. These canisters are also full of smoke. Sometimes they will have BBs and other projectiles mixed in. Tear Gas is not commonly used in busy urban areas, especially in Denver, as it lingers in the air for prolonged periods. The effects of tear gas diminish drastically once you move away from the gas.


–       Irritation: eyes, skin, mucous membranes

–       Breathing trouble

–       Nausea & vomiting

–       Panic

–       Damage to the eyes (if you are wearing contacts)

Tear gas can have long terms side effects such as flu-like symptoms, disruption to menstrual cycles and other complications.

Pepper Spray

Deployment: A foam or liquid fired from canisters, guns that look like super-soakers, swabbed onto the skin (done in prisons/jails, sit-ins and tree sits) and pepper balls (paint balls filled with concentrated powdered capsaicin)


–       Panic

–       Burning

–       Nausea

–       Breathing problems

Eye and Respiratory Protection

Eyes: Swim goggles with rubber seals and no foam will protect eyes sufficiently. Do not wear contacts even if you have eye protection!

Respiratory: A bandana soaked in apple cider vinegar and sealed in a ziploc bag is the easiest protection to wear. Tie this over the mouth and nose when you suspect weapons will be deployed. Wearing a dry bandana underneath can make the smell more tolerable. These are relatively short acting, so once weapons are deployed, make an exit. A respirator with N95 Chemical Particulate filters can be found at most hardware stores and will also work. Note: Respirators do not work if you have facial hair.

Gas Masks: Make sure your mask does not have glass lenses, as these will shatter and damage the eye. Gas masks are hot and hard to wear. If you get a gas mask, practice putting it on until you can do so smoothly and running in it. See if you can seriously wear one for prolonged periods of time.

What To Do

– Evacuate the area. Walk. Encourage others to walk.

– Find a medic or someone that can do an eye wash.

– Do not rub your eyes.

Eye washes

Eye washes are a forceful flush of water in the eyes. We use the squeezable bike water bottles (NOT drinking water bottles.) NEVER use anything but water for eye washes. WATER ONLY. Street Medics can teach you how to do an eye wash. Do not touch your face or rub your eyes.  

You may hear about using something called LAW (liquid antacid and water) for pepper spray in eyes. Many medic collective have success with LAW. However, there are specific risks and instructions for making and using LAW. Unless you have received this training, use WATER ONLY 


Washing skin with castile soap is the best way to get chemical weapons off. Wash so that water runs away from the eyes and use cold water.  


After being exposed to chemical weapons, it is important to remember that there will be a residue remaining on your clothing long after you are actually exposed to the chemicals. If you enter and sort of closed space while wearing contaminated clothing, the residue from your clothes will contaminate the room.

How to properly decontaminate:

1.   As soon as possible, and before entering an uncontaminated area, remove any exposed clothing and any other articles that may have been contaminated, tightly seal them in a plastic bag, and mark the bag “contaminated”.

2.   Shower in the coldest water you can possibly stand, scrubbing with soap. Do not use warm/hot water and do not take a bath.

3.    Wash contaminated clothes in a harsh detergent, dumping them straight from the sealed bag into the washing machine.

After exposure to chemical weapons, be sure to drink a lot of water. Be aware that these weapons contain chemicals that can have lasting health issues. Eating healthy foods (leafy greens, grains), avoiding drugs/alcohol and being more health conscious after an action can help you recover faster.

A few important things to remember in general:

1. If you are hurt or need a medic and can walk, please come to our marked treatment areas or approach us

2. If you cannot move or see someone that cannot move, yell “MEDIC”

3. Many people have valuable training in medicine, but Street Medic trainings use specific and time tested methods for protest specific injuries. Please do not represent yourself as a street medic or intervene in Street Medic treatments. We would be happy to do a bridge training so you can run with us or help set up a role for you if you contact us in advance.

4. Street Medics need space to treat patients. If you see us taking care of someone, help us hold a space. Stand around us with your back to our patient. Don’t allow media or bystanders until we say it is okay.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

It’s been a while…

We haven’t used this blog in a long time, but are back in the blog-o-sphere.

Colorado Street Medics have been working around the clock to support Occupy Denver. This weekend was particularly busy.

We are in need of donations to keep this effort going. Colorado Street Medics need the following:

– Rescue Remedy (in any form)

– Dry herbs for tea/salve

– Clearly marked tinctures

– Gloves in all sizes

– Squeezable bike water bottles

– Blankets

– Snacks

– Hand Warmers

– Water

– Socks

Please e-mail to donate.

We also need folks to provide services such as acupuncture, massage and other treatments for our patients. We can provide a space or give referrals.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The place that FEMA forgot

“FEMA and Red Cross abandoned us. They left us as soon as Ike came, even when our homes flooded and our power went out. No one cared,” Johnny tells me as I stir a pot of soup. “You are the only help we have seen.”

Welcome to the Bayou. No one has much, but they are all willing to feed you. Their homes are tipped over, but they want to make sure you have somewhere to stay.

Folks need their blood pressure checked. They haven’t had insulin since September 1. Mothers need someone to hold their babies while they gather a box of shampoo and clothes. We bandage cuts and hold hands when they cry. Everything is flooded that recovered after Katrina. The cemetary was ravaged. Graves are open. Caskets floated off. Hearts are broken and lives are put on hold. Sure, the boats were broken. The homes were trashed. The people down here will fix it up and get back to normal before they know it. The bayou is strong, but folks still hurt.

Most of our patients are diabetic. They have high blood pressure. Diet has really affected the general health. Mothers tell us stories about all of the complications in their pregnancies and how many weeks premature their babies were. People are choosing which prescriptions to fill, as they don’t have enough money to fill them all. It is nothing new for indigenous and poor communities. We can’t treat all of their ailments or make everything better, but we hold hands, make teas, give hugs and give hugs. It isn’t emergency medicine, this is something different. Through our open hands and hearts we hope to show that people care about a little town in southern Louisiana that FEMA left behind.

We call ourselves the Rubber Boot Medical Collective. We cannot fix most of the problems–reprecussions of physical and cultural genocide, classism and isolation–but we sit in a clinic made out of tarps and flats to try and mend what we can.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Free Store

Donna lives around Dulac, Louisiana. She lives in a trailer with her husband, uncle and sister-in-law. Behind her home there is a small building. Every time the hurricanes come to devastate the bayou, Donna opens a free store.

Inside there are boxes of food, toiletries, clothes, cleaning supplies, house paint and other odds and ends. Families from all around come to collect a box to begin to replace all that they lost.

Sure, Donna’s yard is full of mud and is half recovered from the hurricane. Her living room is full of boxes and she had to move the dining room table into her bedroom to make room for more storage, but she wakes at 6 to prepare the store, feed her volunteers and prepare for the onslaught of people in need that will be at her doorstep.

The bayou was left by FEMA and the Red Cross is hardly visable. This native and Cajun fishing community has no money and no high value property to be lost in the flooding and damage. Gustav tore the buildings apart and Ike brought the water. Donna is ready to make sure everyone is able to get what they need to piece their lives back together.

A set of palets served as the floor and the back of a pickup was our supply station. The medics were clad in knee high rubber boots, cargo pants and shirts smudged with mud. People lined up to get their blood pressure checked, test their blood sugar, find a way to get medication refills and get other illnesses checked. Bryan ran water to people in line while Jaimie  and I scurried about through surges of patients.

It isn’t the most glamorous work, but our swamp clinic served several dozens of people today. We mixed herbal teas, ran exams and tried to get folks their medications faster. The shift today was long and rewarding. Even better, no one is trying to arrest us for attempting to help people in need.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized