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Moulage team brings art to crime scenes

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

As a group of volunteers gather in a room on Keesler Air Force Base to learn the art of moulage, the scene looks like a horror movie set rather than an art class.

The first workshop brought in 10 active duty and civilian volunteers from six squadrons and one health clinic. The students learned how to create complex injuries and simple cuts in the skin. The level of wound detail and variety provides exercise responders an array of scenarios to respond to.

“Moulage is not make-up,” said Regina Parker, 81st Medical Operations Squadron mental health flight secretary. “Military moulage visually simulates the injuries of anything we need like mass casualty events, active shooter or public health threats like influenza.” 

The main goal of the moulage team is to provide realistic injuries or illnesses based on the exercise taking place on base. Parker, who has been working with moulage for almost five years, said with how much time and effort is spent in applying moulage, they needed the extra help and hands on, especially for the bigger exercises.

“Our job is to help train our first responders and firefighters so they are ready to treat any and all injuries and illnesses,” Parker said.

Heather Winterstein, 81st Medical Support Squadron contract technician, has been through moulage certification school and has been the moulage lead at Keesler for about a year and makes her own props for exercises along with teaching the volunteers how to do so as well.

“We teach them how to make wounds, lacerations, burns, bones, broken bones and someone look like they are in shock,” Winterstein said.

Entry wounds may be more difficult to treat with no exit wounds and bones will broke, but Parker and Winterstein hope the realistic nature of moulage provides a more real-world training environment.

“I hope to keep the workshops going to keep people’s skills sharp,” said Winterstein. “We could also use these workshops to train new volunteers throughout the year.”