If you are planning on participating in the #YouReek protest or any kind of protest, it is important to know how to protect yourself from tear gas canisters. The effects of being tear-gassed usually last around 30 minutes but trust me it’s a very long 30 minutes. Here’s a brief post on the effects of tear gas and few tips on how to handle tear gas as shared by Zod security and based on few articles I looked up online.
What to expect when you are exposed to tear gas:
– Burning in your eyes, nose, mouth and skin.
– Blurry vision.
– Coughing and difficulty breathing.
How To Protect Yourself
A gas mask is usually the best way to protect yourself from tear gas. If you are unable to get one, you can always use swimming goggles, respirators and even wet bandanas over the nose and mouth can do the trick.
What To Do When Exposed
– Put your gas mask or goggles on, or cover your mouth and nose with cloth.
– Try to stay calm and walk away quickly to fresh air. Avoid visible clouds if possible.
– Don’t touch tear gas canisters as they are extremely hot.
– DO NOT RUB your eyes. Wash them with water or soap and cold water if available.
– DO NOT APPLY cream, sunscreen or makeup as they absorb tear gas.
– AVOID swallowing and try to cough and spit repeatedly.
– AVOID wearing your contact lenses to the demo.
Once you get back home or to your car, take our the exposed clothes and wash them. Keep in mind that the best treatments are air, cold water and time.
On a last note, keep in mind that security forces are legally allowed to use tear gas for crowd control just like we have every right to protest. I strongly believe in civilized and peaceful demonstrations and I’m sure we can keep it this way if we are disciplined enough. If there are thugs and troublemakers among the crowds, the organizers should figure out a way to isolate them and expose them. I truly hope you will never need any of the tips above and that what happened yesterday will never be repeated.