Volunteers Learn Disaster Training With Help Of Makeup Artist

Sunday, March 4th 2007, 7:53 pm
By: News On 6

Volunteers in Tulsa are training for everything from fires to funnel clouds. The News on 6’s Joshua Brakhage reports the training site looks more like the set of CSI, with actors taking cues, and a hard-working makeup artist simulating the worst Oklahoma can offer.

They've been burned, lost limbs, and fought flying debris. At least, that's what trainers want you to think.

"We try to make it as realistic as we can," said Robert Pyle the Community Emergency Response Team Commander.

Pyle says the classroom can't prepare rescuers for what they'll face in the field.

"We have the victims made up with the moulage, so that they look like they've actually got some wounds," he said.

"I was so fascinated by the wounds, both by nature and by trade, that was right up my alley," makeup artist Robin Elliott said.

Elliott taught herself how to craft cuts and contusions just for the training. Wax and gel spreads into skin, clay is turned to bone and what looks like gallon squeeze-bottles of strawberry syrup become blood.

The volunteers are taught to act as if the wounds are more than superficial.

“Once you get out there, those blisters and that skin is going to start peeling off and it will look more realistic and that's when you're going to start freaking out," said Elliott.

Elliott hopes her stomach-turning showpieces make saving lives a gut reaction.

"They're basically desensitized to seeing the blood and guts and gore,” she said. "When you come upon that, it can really shake you up and you can go into shock yourself just from the trauma of being around it"

The people at the training session were from the Community Emergency Response Team; they're civilians learning basic search and rescue and disaster first aid. The organization does not tackle the most dangerous missions, but say their training could come in handy in the aftermath of severe weather.

The Response Team is always looking for more volunteers, if you’d like to participate you can contact them at 918-596-BRDY (2739).