DENVER (KDVR) — Amid the sea of graffiti in downtown Denver, there are markings on the sidewalk outside the Colorado State Capitol that stand out.
The words “1ST AID” are spray painted on the concrete in big, red letters next to an arrow pointing east down East 14th Avenue. The signs lead to an apartment complex at 14th and Pennsylvania Street that has turned into a makeshift first aid station.
“We are just here to help people who are injured, no questions asked,” Anna Taylor said.
Taylor and her neighbors live in a spot where protesters have marched past each night since Thursday.
“It’s really hard to stay still while things are happening in our street,” Taylor said.
Taylor and her neighbors initially offered a place for protesters to wash their eyes out after coming into contact with tear gas. Their operation has since evolved into rooms full of medical supplies with dozens of volunteers treating more than 100 patients.
“We have a couple of EMTs who are volunteering with us, a registered nurse has been around — we’ve even had a medical doctor here,” she said.
According to Taylor, most of the injuries are minor complications from crowd control tactics used by the Denver Police Department. She says there have been two instances where they needed to call an ambulance.
While the serious injuries are rare, the volunteers say they do it because they feel there is a serious need.
“The people are hysterical because they’ve never had something like that done to them,” street medic Jarrod Davis said of working with tear gas patients.
Davis is not a professional medic. He says he is a former member of the military with basic first aid training.
He is one of several other individual street medics working alone to keep fellow protesters safe. They are all wearing red tape crosses to identify themselves.
“Everything on me is medical. I have sunscreens, lotions, abrasion ointments, bandages, ice packs,” he said.
In addition to providing medical care, the volunteers are also focused on passing out free snacks and water to prevent protesters from becoming dehydrated or ill during the long hours in the heat.
“The amount of people who are able and willing to come help people is insanely encouraging,” Taylor said.