Pensioner helps train emergency services by posing as a casualty !
A plucky pensioner helps emergency services prepare for everything from terror attacks to football riots by posing as a casualty.
Judy Baker has spent 16 years dressing up as a wounded victim and has travelled up and down the UK pretending to be injured.
The 67-year-old has helped with everything from victim identification to shooting for a first aid manual, and has even been able to use her experience in real life situations.
Judy, a grandmother of one, says it can be difficult not to laugh at times, but she tries to make her performance as realistic as possible.
She volunteers for Casualties Union, a charity which provides reacting casualties for the medical profession, the emergency services, and those who teach first aid, nursing and rescue.
The retired primary school teacher said: “We do pride ourselves on being acting and reacting casualties.
“You’ve got to try not to laugh though.
“There are times when I really want to laugh, but it wouldn’t be fair so you have to hold it in.”
Judy, from Altrincham, Cheshire, is now leader of the charity’s Greater Manchester branch and will do casualty make-up as well as acting herself.
Her favourite scenario was helping the emergency services in a victim identification role, but she’s also played a pregnant lady, a stampede victim and a homeless person.
She said: “The victim identification is something I always enjoy.
“There was one particular scenario when a man had run amok in a shopping centre and shot several people.
“The dead bodies were taken to a mortuary and I just had to lie in this body bag while they took my finger prints, photographed me, examined my hair and eye colour and took off all my jewellery.
“I found that very interesting.”
She added: “We also did something for Manchester United Football Club so they could practice a mass evacuation.
“A fan had thrown a flare which landed on somebody’s chest, and then there was a stampede from everyone trying to get out so there were also crush injuries to deal with.
“There was loads going on, I think I had an angina attack.
“To prepare the scene I put some dust on my shoe and left a footprint on someone’s t-shirt so it looked like he’d been trampled on.”
The volunteers are given a brief explaining what’s happened up until the point when the emergency services arrive.
From the moment they come on the scene, it’s ad lib and focused on trying to make the situation as realistic as possible.
Judy said: “We often want to come out of character, but it’s just something you don’t do.
“A very good part of what we do is react to what’s going on at that moment.
“Once my nail was hanging off and the young man treating me put pressure on it.
“I screamed and screamed and he later asked me why, so I just said that is what will happen if you touch a nail like that.
“We don’t just lie there like dummies.”
The casualties can be needed for anything from a couple of hours to a full day, depending on the brief.
The most recent job Judy helped out on – where she did the make-up for the victims – was a gruelling 12 hour day.
She can’t remember how many times she’s posed as a casualty, but says you can do three events one week and then nothing for six months.
She said: “I got involved with the charity as a favour for a friend.
“She needed some make-up doing and I used to help out the amateur dramatics societies so I said I’d help her out.
“I found it really interesting and thought it was amazing what they did, which is how I got involved.
“When somebody approaches us now, we send them a request form asking what injuries they will require and how many volunteers they want.”
She added: “Sadly there are fewer and fewer exercises because of the cost – they’re expensive to put on.
“We’re a charity so we don’t get paid, we just ask for fuel expenses.
“Certain places, like airports, have to do the training every so often for safety certificates.
“The fire brigade usually do an open day in the summer where they show the public what happens in a car crash which we always get called on for.”
You can find more information on Casualties Union and how to join here: http://www.casualtiesunion.org.uk/