It’s not often thought about by your average congoer, but what happens when a medical emergency occurs at the convention? A small cut or bruise might be easy enough to manage, but the unfortunate truth is, the fun environment of the convention is no further removed from the possibility of serious medical emergencies than any other event. What happens when congoers:
- Break bones?
- Pass out drunk?
- Have seizures?
- Experience mental breakdowns?
- Experience chest pains or trouble breathing?
- Have complications with diabetes?
It’s important to seriously consider how to deal with emergencies, and this is especially true in the convention environment, where the excitement of the con and desire to not miss anything might cause people to disregard potentially significant health issues in favor of maximizing their good time at the con, sometimes with disastrous consequences.
This is where Operation Hammond comes in.
Operation Hammond is an international non-profit organization, bent on providing first aid and emergency medical services to anime and other pop-culture conventions, as well as raising awareness and providing training to both con staff and attendees.
As a convention staffer and EMT, founder James M. Fedora noticed a pattern throughout the conventions he staffed at. Time and time again, he had found that most conventions are ill-equipped to deal with medical issues that arise at their events. In addition, the convention community has unique concerns aren’t always addressed by normal medical responders.
For example, in episode 3 of “Genshiken,” Madarame slips on the rain-slick steps to the Tokyo Big Sight and seriously injures his hand. His excitement for Comic Market overcomes his better judgment and he plays it off, until his hand swells up as big as a grapefruit and he’s carried away on a stretcher after passing out.
At first blush, it’s a silly situation, and it’s played for laughs in the show, but it’s the exact kind of thing that actually happens more often than it should and needs to be caught early before it gets serious. Add in the concerns of people coming to the event from out-of-state, and the sheer comfort factor of being attended to by medical technicians who understand the culture, and it’s easy to see where Operation Hammond fits.
Founded in 2012, Operation Hammond has since attended over 50 events as an organization, providing medical response services, training, and social care to pop culture conventions throughout the US and Canada. Equipped with not only an array of medical supplies (first-aid kits, oxygen, automated external defibrillators, wheelchairs, and emergency anti-opioid medication), but the personal experience and sensitivity toward the subculture that comes from being stepped in it themselves, Operation Hammond stands poised to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies that present themselves at conventions.
It’s inspiring whenever geeks, nerds, and otaku go out of their way to look out for other geeks, nerds, and otaku, and Operation Hammond is that at scale. Their motto says it all: “Nerds Helping Nerds in Times of Need,” and if their expansion into Canada last year is any indication, it could soon become “Nerds Helping Nerds Worldwide.”
Volunteers can sign up at their website and conventions looking to enlist their services can drop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.