By Nyesha Stone
Ever thought of becoming a street medic? Wait, what is a street medic?
A street medic is someone who provides medical care at protest or demonstrations. Street medics can be traced back to the Civil Rights Movement when medical professions traveled to the South during “Freedom Summer” to provide care for injured African-Americans protesting.
“Being prepared ahead of time is the key element,” said Sue Bietila, guest speaker.
The Milwaukee Public Library (Zablocki) held a street medic training 101 event March 12, 2017. The event was a Q & A session with Bietila on how to be a good street medic.
Bietila is a registered nurse (RN,) and has been one for last 40 years at Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). She also began her street medic career in the 1960s.
“For a demonstration you have to think tactile,” said Bietila.
When at a demonstration or protest always make sure to stick to what you know, said Bietila. Don’t touch the patient if you’re not sure what to do, instead call a professional or someone with more knowledge than you.
Sunday’s event brought a variety of ages together into a medium sized room. Over twenty people sat in a circle listening and asking questions in hopes of becoming a new or better street medic.
In general, a street medic is simply a good citizen who has basic first aid knowledge.
When it comes to help, do what you can, but if they’re unconscious do not touch them, said Bietila. Instead, surround and protect them until the ambulance arrives. With her purple boots, black hoodie, floral scarf and coffee mug Bietila fit right in with her audience. She said she decided to do the event because “it was a good time to start thinking” and knowing how to be a proper street medic, because they’re needed.
Bietila said being a street medic is not hard, but there were precautions that needed to be taken. Before going to any protest or demonstration, one must get insight on who’s going to be at the event; the more a street medic knows, the more efficient they will be.
During the session, Bietila she also gave these lifesaving tips.
She said Bottles of water were a necessity, and must be carried by street medics at all times.
She also added when out in the field street medics must always be safe and never overstep boundaries because somebody’s life could be on the line.
Whether it’s aiding a person at a protest or calling an ambulance for a someone passed out in an alley, there is always room to be a good citizen and help care for the injured.