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(en) US, Boston Area Liberation Medic (BALM) Squad Providing Medical Coverage for Progressive Actions in Boston and Beyond

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>(http://www.bostoncoop.net/balm/)
Date Fri, 19 Dec 2003 10:57:36 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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"(BALM) Squad is an all-volunteer, non-hierarchical, consensus-run organization..."
News! The BALM Squad is planning a street medic training for February,
2004! More information will be posted on this site as soon as it
becomes available. If you are interested in learning more about this
training, please contact the BALM Squad at bostonmedics@riseup.net or 781 529-3642.
The street medics who were covering the FTAA protests in Miami
(which included some BALM Squad members) have gotten some
good press. Check out Dangerous Medicine in the Miami New Times online.
The BALM Squad is offering "What Every Protestor Should Know"
workshops to social justice organizations throughout New England
to help protestors prepare for the DNC and RNC in 2004 and other
upcoming actions. For more information, see our Training section.
To schedule a workshop for your organization or to receive more
information, please contact the BALM Squad at
bostonmedics@riseup.net or 781 529-3642.

Site Contents
BALM Squad Home
What Do Street Medics Do?
The BALM Library
Street Medic Links
Medics in the News
Contact Us
Upcoming Events

Feb., 2004: The BALM Squad is offering a street medic training.
More information about the training will be posted on this site

For People Who Participated in the FTAA Protests in Miami

The Miami Activist Defense (MAD) legal collective is looking for
information from people who were injured during the protests in
Miami. You can download police misconduct report forms and find
other information about how to submit evidence and reports of
violence, injury, harassment, etc. by police at MAD's Web site.

If you were at the FTAA protests in Miami and were injured,
there's a good info sheet on how to document injuries from police
brutality at http://stopftaa.org/downloads/shooting_wounded.pdf.

There is an excellent online resource called Healing Trauma for
people who are experiencing emotional issues following protests
and for those who provide aftercare and support for those returning
from protests and other actions. The Healing Trauma site was put
together by activists for activists. See also Responding to Critical
Incident Stress in Protests and Mass Mobilizations in the BALM
Squad Library.

The BALM Squad Statement on Sexual Violence

On March 28, 2003, the BALM Squad released the following
statement regarding sexual violence in the activist community:

Sexual violence and oppression violate individuals as well as the
values of our organization. The Boston Area Liberation Medic
Squad (BALM Squad) works to promote the health and well-being
of activists at progressive demonstrations and beyond. We will not
tolerate sexual assault or harassment within our organization or
within the larger progressive political movement.

Sexual violence has recently become a prominent issue in the
Boston activist community. To further education, discussion and
action related to this issue, we will:

* address all incidences of sexual harassment and assault as
directly and immediately as possible
* educate ourselves about sexual violence and work to address
this issue in our workshops and trainings
* work with others to develop a Boston activist community that:
1. recognizes the social and political dynamics underlying
sexual violence,
2. engages in active discussion about sexual violence and
how it impacts our community, and
3. creates a network of resources and support for survivors.

Health Info for Cold Weather Demonstrations

The seasons are changing again, so it's a good time to learn how to
take care of yourself at autumn and winter demonstrations and
actions. The following documents can help you prepare for warmer
weather and help you stay safe and healthy at this winter's actions.

Street Medic's Guide to Hypothermia PDF version and HTML
version - A list of the causes, warning signs, preventive measures,
and basic treatment for hypothermia. A must-read before attending
cold-weather protests!

Staying Healthy for Civil Disobedience Actions PDF version and
HTML version - A list of things to consider when preparing to take
part in civil disobedience actions or direct action with a high risk of

For more information about how to care for yourself and your
friends on the streets, see The BALM Squad Library.

What is the BALM Squad?

The Boston Area Liberation Medic (BALM) Squad is an
all-volunteer, non-hierarchical, consensus-run organization that
aims to provide medical support, by all means at our individual and
collective disposal, at progressive demonstrations and direct
actions. We also seek to facilitate the dissemination of medical
knowledge for the empowerment of the progressive community.
We value diversity in both our own organization and in the larger
struggle against oppression.

The BALM Squad has been active since the Fall of 2001. Our
members have varying levels of medical training and street medic
experience and work with several different healing modalities. We
offer the following health-related services to the progressive

* On-site health care support at progressive demonstrations.
This includes clinic staff as well as medics on the street.

We are currently planning to provide and help coordinate street
medic coverage for the 2004 Democratic National Convention in
Boston. We are also planning to go to the FTAA protests in Miami
and other large demonstrations on the East Coast, and will
continue to cover smaller, local events as they occur.

* Talks and classes for activists on health, street first aid, and
related topics. We have given numerous health and safety classes
and talks to activists preparing for demonstrations, civil
disobedience, direct actions, and peacekeeping activities in other
countries. We also sponsor street medic courses and special
classes on related topics such as herbal healing. For more
information about BALM's classes, click here.

* Free health clinics for progressive causes. BALM Squad
members and their colleagues organized and staffed free health
clinics for janitors and their families during the Justice for Janitors
strike in the Fall of 2002.

* Health care-related political actions. As street medics, we are
concerned about access to adequate and affordable health care,
both on and off the streets. Therefore, we plan to take part in
political actions that are related to improving public health care.

Return to top of page

What Do Street Medics Do?

Street medics are activists who are trained to provide basic first
aid and emergency care to people on the streets at rallies, mass
demonstrations, marches, and sites of civil disobedience or direct
action. In addition, they often provide education in health and
safety issues to activists, train people to be street medics or
affinity group medics, and provide aftercare to participants in mass
demonstrations and other progressive actions. Street medics are
usually found on the streets during marches and rallies (as the
name suggests), but they may also staff a stationary or mobile
clinic at larger demonstrations and other gatherings.

Street medics and medic collectives are also concerned about the
ongoing health needs of the people in their communities. While
demonstrations and other progressive actions are a large part of
what we do, street medics also participate in other health-related
activities between demonstrations. This includes activities such as
organizing and staffing free health clinics, working with
organizations that offer free health care to homeless people,
performing blood pressure checks for people at homeless shelters,
and supporting local, state, and national efforts to improve access
to health care for all people.

You can become a street medic by attending and completing a
street medic training program and then by practicing your skills at
progressive actions along with other street medics. The BALM
Squad occasionally offers street medic training and affinity group
medic training sessions. We can also refer you to qualified trainers
and street medic collectives in other states and regions.

For more information about street medics, see this article by Matt
Bivens in "The Nation" and this article by Michael Blanding in "The
Boston Phoenix", or visit the Web sites listed in our Street Medic
Links section.

Return to top of page


In addition to providing various health care-related services to the
progressive community, the BALM Squad also offers talks and
training courses to activists and other interested people. The
classes we offer are described below.

* What Every Protester Should Know training classes are
offered to activists in preparation for various types of progressive
actions. These classes are usually a combination of instruction and
skills practice. Classes address issues such as what to bring (and
not bring) to demonstrations, preparing for a demonstration,
treating chemical weapons exposure, preparing appropriately for
weather conditions, and physical and psychological aftercare
following demonstrations and other actions. We can also
customize the content of our classes to meet the needs of specific
audiences (people preparing for direct action and civil
disobedience, serving as peacekeepers in violent situations, etc.).
These classes usually last 2-3 hours, but we can present a
condensed 1-hour class if needed. Please contact us for more
information and to schedule a "What Every Protester Should
Know" class for your organization.

* Street Medic training classes are taught by experienced
trainers with assistance from BALM Squad members. Street medic
training typically takes place over a weekend (two full days plus an
evening session). This course provides training in basic first aid,
chemical weapons decontamination, emotional support, and street
medic logistics. Course materials are provided. You do not need
any prior health care training or experience to become a street

* Special training classes are occasionally organized by the
BALM Squad. We sponsored an Herbal Healing for Activists
course in 2001, and we plan to organize other classes in areas of
interest to street medics and others in the future.

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