This was posted on the Scouts-L Listerv.

Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2004 09:19:53 -0500
From: "John Unger"
Subject: Re: SCOUTS-L First Aid Information

One of my very favorite things to do!

We had a member of our Venturing Crew who was a theater major at college,
and one of her courses was wound stage makeup. She was VERY good - if you
didn't know better you would swear that she was really wounded - even upon
up-close inspection.

I suggest finding a theatrical supply company and investing in some liquid
latex and stage blood. Of course, just before Halloween here is a
good time to find the stage blood in the stores, but other times of the year
you can get it from the theatrical supply companies. Get enough to practice
with until you get it down.

Lessons learned from past mistakes - don't try to use rubber cement! I
can really irritate the skin. Of course, check your "victims" before hand
for latex allergies, too.

I like to make up a few lacerations and burns ahead of time. I use wax
paper to build them on. I like to lay a thin foundation of latex, let it
dry, and repeat a few times to build up a good base so I can apply the wound
later. You can build the wound by applying the latex directly to your victim
(you can get a more realistic wound this way) but you need some hours of
perparation before the event to be able to do this. This cannot be done in
just 30 rushed minutes!

Then for the wound - have the latex built for the wound. If you want a
smooth laceration, cut it (be careful you don't cut your victim if you're
doing this directly on them!) and peal it open a bit. Latex is a bit tough
to cut, so you need a sharp knife. For a torn laceration you can use a sharp
knife to cut in jagged slices, and peel the different layers back away from
the wound. For burns, a technique I haven't quite mastered is to inject some
gel liquid between layers of latex. For 3rd degree burns you can sprinkle
powdered charcoal into the tacky latex, with peeled layers back from the

Now, you need to be able to make the wound look like its part of the victim.
Recruit some ladies to help you with this. Hit the makeup counters
and look for bases and creams that help smooth and blend natrual flesh
colors. Then look for the blue and purple eye shadows for bruises. Some pale
powders to give the face an ashen look (for shock), some of the lipsticks
can give the lips a paler color to enhance the shock look.

When you add the blood, don't overdo it - the problem I've seen with most
first aid wounds is too much blood. If you can get some EMTs to help you
judge the amount of blood that would be coming from different wounds, use

Scenarios - our First Aid Meets used 5 scenarios that the different
patrols would go to. We had two setups of each scenario (so that's 10
stations) so we could get all the patrols through (running around 200+ boys
back then). Pull your scenarios from real life if possible. We had a
wrecked car brought in by a local junk-yard, with multiple victims ejected
from the car laying round. We had a 3 canoes on the banks of a "white-water
river" - one of the victims under a canoe (survey the scene!).

We borrowed a smoke machine from the HS theater and used a pavilion with a
room to make a smoke-filled building with an unconscious victim. (The smoke
started after the patrol found the victim.) One of my favorites was a victim
who'd fallen while climbing a tree & was face-down. When rolled over, there
was a stick impaled in the eye. BUT, the victim was not breathing. Quite a
few treated the eye well, but the victim died. We've had 3rd-degree burns
from cooking fires, too.

We taught our victims to act and behave as if they were really injured.
(We used our Venturing Crew a lot for this) - so there was screaming, lack
of cooperation, panic, refusal to calm down, multiple victims demanding time
and attention, all of the things you find in real life situations.

I'm proud to say that in those cases where Scouts who participated in our
First Aid Meet have been confronted with real emergencies, they have been
able to respond quickly and calmly to the situation without being bothered
by the sights and sounds of the real thing.

Hope this helps,
John Unger

TROOP 33 DeKalb, IL
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