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Take some time to prepare to protect yourself and your community while protesting.




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3M particle Filter

Respirator v. Gas Mask​​




















More On Respirators...


The body of a respirator is called a mask (we recommend the Half Facepiece), and insertion pieces are called filters or cartridges. Often, you must buy masks and filters separately.


You can think of a filter like a sponge: if they get wet they lose their ability to absorb. Because of this, you want a hard plastic covering during the wet season.


Filters are color coded based on what kind of particular matter they protect you against. Check out the list below to make sure you are buying the right kind of filter for your mask.

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Check out this video (fifth video in the post)  by Joseph Dixon (IG @Jodisqueeze)

The video breaks down which filters to use in different situations.

For tear gas specifically, buy a black filter. Black filters protect against organic gases, including tear gas.


Color coding on filters can be found here:








It is common to see NBC or CBRN denoted on masks. 

NBC = stands for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical.

CBRN = means Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear

NIOSH = approval from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Healt

P100 =  indicates the highest level of respiratory protectio








3M manufactures the 7500 half facepiece

series which comes in 3 sizes

and costs about $20 each.



                 Model 7501 is small - 


                 7502 is medium - 


                 7503 is large - 






Two great filter models are the 3m 7093 P100 filters ($5 ea) or the 3M 60926 P100 ($8 ea.)

The 60926 are slightly more powerful, and are pink.






















For a comprehensive manual on filters and cartridges, check out this GUIDE.



You can buy filters/cartridges at any of the following sites that are not Amazon!


Filters and cartridges do not have a set lifespan. Because filters work like a sponge or straighter, eventually they either get too full to function or let vapor start passing through. Basically, if it becomes hard to breathe, you need to change your filter. Click here for more information.


Tear gas is technically not a gas—it’s a fine dispersion of tiny particles that cling to your skin, hair, and clothes, and react to liquids like sweat, oil, and makeup.

Your hair is full of natural oils—cover it with wraps, hoods, hats, etc.

Do not wear make up.


Tear gas exposure can be mitigated by covering your face with a scarf and goggles, as well as exposed skin (the chemical in tear gas reacts to moisture and oils on your skin), but the canisters themselves can be neutralized as a threat.


The International News Safety Institute recommends a respirator that’s fitted to the shape of your face—which means you’re better off getting it in person rather than online so you can make sure it forms a tight seal. Bring spare canisters, because they only last a few hours. And remember, tear gas affects any exposed tissues, so you’ll need to protect your mouth, nose, and eyes.


don’t wear contact lenses, and don’t wear sunscreen—they can react with tear gas to make the reaction worse.


If caught in cloud, head to higher ground because particles are heavier than air.


Don’t touch your face. Hold out your arms and legs to let wind carry the particles away from you.


Get out of your clothes as soon as it’s safe to do so, but don’t start stripping right away since there may still be irritants in the air. When you’re in a safe place, don’t take clothes off by lifting them over your head—cut them off of your body to avoid further face exposure. If you head home, keep away from your carpets, upholstery, and bedding, since those things are nearly impossible to decontaminate once they come into contact with tear gas. Clothing should be double-bagged in plastic and thrown away. You can try to clean your clothes, but it could take many loads and the more you handle those materials, the more you’re risking re-exposure.

(The Stranger online publication)



  • provide varying degrees of facial coverage and contain filters that remove unwanted particles

  • They start at around $20

  • provide the necessary protection required for most protests

 Gas masks 

  • provide full facial protection

  • very expensive (starting around $200)

  • built for more intense situations

Packing Right
All About Gas Mask
First Aid + Medical

First Aid + Medical



Street medics, or action medics are volunteers that provide critical care to people who have been injured during protests or riots. It is suggested that street medics already have formal medical training, and work in community with one another.


If you are at all interested in street medicine, The Street Medic Handbook, created by Paper Revolution Collective (more resources there) is the place to start. It is a multinational online handbook written in 2012 as a resource for the Occupy movement. 



  • History of street medics

  • Scope of practice

  • Organizational structure

  • Pre-protest planning

  • Dehumanizing and restoring dignity

  • First aid

  • Weather 

  • Public health

  • Common street medic remedies

  • Arrests

  • Stress, emotions, and coping

  • Documenting injuries

  • Organizing medical support at protests

  • An organized, useful kit

  • Further resources


For those interested in being formally trained as street medics,

The Do No Harm Coalition provides workshops. Their manifesto states that they are a group of “healers, health workers, and activists accompanying communities affected by state sanctioned violence in our collective struggle for health, dignity, and sovereignty. Health is a human right and as health workers we have a collective duty to eradicate systems of oppression which threaten that right.” 


Due to COVID-19, most Bay Area locations are not currently offering training. However, if you are a clinical professional interested in translating your skills into street medicine to support a street medic or provide aid in the absence of one, you can check out this video training here.

To access the slides from the video presentation, click here.


To learn more about the history of street medics, including its relationship to the Stonewall Riots and The Black Panther Party, check out this NYTimes article









Bay Area organizations

Bay Area Radical Health Collective (BARHC) - San Francisco, CA

Bay Area Street Medics Alliance (BASMA)

Berkeley Free Clinic



Where There Are No Doctors - A book for Community Health Workers

Ditch Medicine - an overview of field medicine

Riot Medicine - An overview of street medicine in protests



Riot Medicine (500 Page Text)

Street Medic info Clearing House 

Herbal Protocols 

Orientation for Medical Providers working with the Movement 

Medicine for All Seeking Herbal Healing Clinic Collective

Occupy Boston Street Medic Protocols

Zine 'Excited Delirium' 

Boston Area Liberation Medics


(Sourced from Do No Harm Coalition Street Medic Bridge Training page)

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Group Safey



Though complete safety can never be guaranteed at a protest, there are many precautions you can take to mitigate harm. One tactic is to attend the protest with a group of people you trust.

When protesting with a crew, here are safety measure you can take:

  • Make sure you have everyone’s number and create a group chat on Signal. There are two main reasons to use Signal. First, If group members use different types of phones (android, iPhone etc.), messages might not be sent to the same thread and could result in confusion. Second, Signal uses encryption that ensures the security and privacy of messages.

  • If possible, share your location (for 24 hours—you don’t know how long you’ll be out there!).

  • If the protest is stationary (a rally, speech etc.), pick a nearby meet up location

  • If a march is included, ask for the route from organizers. 

  • As a group, pick various meeting points that you all know how to get to and can locate on google maps (a corner store, monument, street corner, tall building that can be spotted from afar etc.). Make sure these points are near but not on the route. If there is a police (or other violent) confrontation, you will have to get off the march’s route in order to be safe.

  • Sometimes, protests will get chaotic without warning. Flash bomb grenades, tear gas explosions, and police violence can all cause stampedes. Before the protest, pick a direction you and your friends will turn in the case of a stampede, i.e. “we will all take the first left. If there is no left turn, we will make the first right.” Running straight could lead to trampling if you are not fast enough, and it keeps you in the line of fire of bullets, gases, batons, bodies, and other weapons.

  • DO NOT TAKE FOTOS OF EACH OTHER (or anybody else!). Police track protesters through social media posts and use them to threaten, attack, and arrest individuals

  • If you can, have a designated 

    • driver

    • police liaison

    • Medic/someone with medical knowledge

  • Always write the phone number for the National Lawyers Guild. Write in on your arm in permanent marker in case you get arrested and separated from your possessions. The number is 415-285-1011. For more information on the National Lawyers Guild and who to contact in different scenarios, click here.



















For more resources this article from Wired magazine covers more protest and group safety tips. 


Here is a link to the ACLU’s page on knowing your rights as a protestor. Review these and print a copy to carry with you if you’d like.

This is a note from Vox on what to bring to protests, especially during a pandemic

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National Lawyers Guild

415 - 285 - 1011

Officer Interactions



When interacting with police or other law enforcement, there is nothing you can do that will guarantee your safety. Racism, violence, abuse of power, fear mongering, and fear itself are cornerstones of police training and practice. However, there are actions you can take that may keep you safer in the event of a police interaction. The tips presented here are not a holistic approach for how to think about police or hold police accountable; they are meant to keep your body alive.





Stay calm.

Keep your hands visible and empty.

Do not argue or raise your voice.

If you are in a group with white people, discuss before the protest their role in police interaction. Make sure they are prepped to be police liaisons and have them interact with police when possible.

Do not reach into a bag or backpack.

Do not keep large objects in your pockets (tools, water bottles, etc.)


From the ACLU:

Do not obstruct the police, even if you believe they are violating your rights. Point out that you are not disrupting anyone else’s activity and that the First Amendment protects your actions.

Ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, calmly walk away.

Do not respond to any police questions, avoid all conversation and casual interrogation.


In the case of an arrest

If you are under arrest, you have a right to ask why. Otherwise, say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t say anything or sign anything without a lawyer.

You have the right to make a local phone call, and if you’re calling your lawyer, police are not allowed to listen.

You never have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings. If you do explicitly consent, it can affect you later in court.

Police may “pat down” your clothing if they suspect you have a weapon and may search you after an arrest.

Police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your photographs or video without a warrant, nor may they delete data under any circumstances. However, they may order citizens to cease activities that are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations.


What to do if you believe your rights have been violated:

When you can, write down everything you remember, including the officers’ badge and patrol car numbers and THE AGENCY THEY WORK FOR.

*many times officers will be deployed from neighboring cities precincts - when filing a suite or complaint it is important to know the precinct / city the officer comes from in order to begin a investigation of abuse*

Get contact information for witnesses.


Once you have all of this information, you can file a written complaint with the agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.


For more information regarding arrests, visit




If you are organizing a protest, make sure you have individuals responsible for the following tasks:

-cop watch (higher risk)

-legal observation (trying not to get arrested because their responsibility is to document)

-police liaison (do this with a buddy)

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