How to help out: A quick safety guide to being involved in the protests


Tear gas and Pepper spray:

  1. If you see it coming or get a warning (e.g. police are putting gasmasks on), put on protective gear. (Refer to Face Mask section)
  2. Locate a mobile medic.
  3. STAY CALM: Panicking increases the irritation. Breathe slowly and remember it is only temporary.
  4. If possible, move away, get upwind, or get to higher ground above tear gas clouds.
  5. Blow your nose, rinse your mouth, cough and spit. Try not to swallow.
  6. If you wear contacts, you must remove the lenses or get someone to remove them for you, with CLEAN, uncontaminated fingers. Destroy the lenses after exposure, they are not cleanable.



Primary care involves flushing the eye:

  1. Get patient lower than you
  2. Tilt head to the side you are going to flush and hold eye open
  3. With a quick movement, stream water from the inside corner of the eye to the outside
  4. Tilt head the other way and repeat flushing the other eye
  5. Tell the patient to blink and ask if that helped. They may want you to do it again.


Skin and mouth:

  1. L.A.W. (liquid antacid and water): 50% Maalox brand liquid antacid and 50% water
  1. Alternative to Maalox : Active ingredients to look for are magnesium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide.
  1. You can squirt L.A.W. onto the patient’s skin or into patient’s mouth, have them swirl it around, and then spit it out.
  2. Avoid oil-based moisturisers or cleaning solutions, as this can causes the tear gas or pepper spray to stick to your skin.



  1. Medications that are used to treat asthma (such as bronchodilators) may also be used to help the person breathe.
  2. After washing the mouth with L.A.W., the patient may swallow some of the solution in order to neutralise the chemical and assist with breathing.


Face Mask

A bandana or cloth soaked with vinegar or cider vinegar. Keep the soaked bandana/cloth in a sealed plastic bag until it's needed.

Superficial Wounds (from falling or attacks):

  1. Locate a mobile medic
  2. Irrigate and clean the wound thoroughly with clean water
  3. Apply an antiseptic
  4. Dress the wound with a bandage/ wound strip
  5. Possibly refer to hospital if requiring stitches

Burns (from flash bang or fire):

  1. Locate a mobile medic
  2. Rinse wound thoroughly with cool, clean water (AVOID ICE!)
  3. Apply Burn gel (if available)
  4. Lightly dress wound with bandage



  1. Locate a mobile medic
  2. Drink some rehydrate
  1. Mix: 1 litre water          8 level teaspoons of sugar             ½ level teaspoon of salt
  2. OR juice, sugar water, etc.
  1. Get out of the sun, maybe take a seat


Dog Bites

What to do if attacked:

  1. The recommended posture to minimize damage from a dog is to stand still with feet together fists folded under your neck, and arms placed against the chest.
  2. If knocked to the ground by a dog, recommendations include lying face down with legs together and fists behind the neck with your fore-arms covering your ears.

If bitten:

  1. Locate a mobile medic
  2. Calm and protect the patient.
  3. Expose any areas that could possibly have been bitten.
  4. Clean the wound area with sterile gauze sponges and water.
  5. Use direct pressure and elevation to control the bleeding.
  6. Use ice to control bruising/swelling.
  7. Refer patient to hospital for definitive care

On-the-go medics:

The medics should be prepped to deal with the aforementioned problems and will be easily locatable with red tape. They will act as a first port of call as well as referral centre for more serious problems.

 Supplies Needed (if you spot a medic just give it to them to help the cause):

Burn Gel



1 litre bottles




Snack bars

Deep Heat




Contact for an emergency:

Try to stay calm and make sure you have these details ready:

1.       The nature of the emergency;

2.       Exact location of the incident (including nearby landmarks); and

3.       The details about any injuries.

4.       Remember: never hang up until you are told to do so.


Ambulance - 10177

This number can be used in the case of a medical emergency.

Nationwide Emergency Response - 10111

Dial the telephone number 10111 from anywhere in South Africa and a call centre operator will answer the incoming call, take all necessary particulars and assign the complaint to a Flying Squad patrol vehicle, or the local police station, to attend the incident.

Cell phone emergency - 112

For emergencies, you can call 112 from any cell phone in South Africa. You will then reach a call centre and they will route you to an emergency service closest to you.

When you dial this number you will reach an automated menu. Don't let this frustrate you. The menu acts as a form of triage (priority of treatment) control and filters out abuse of the medical and emergency system.

It's very easy to get caught up in distress but remember to stay calm and make sure the emergency medical services team knows exactly how to reach you.


Store them in your phone!!!

Emergency - Ambulance (10177)

Emergency - Cell phone (112)

Emergency - National (10111)