Casualty Union volunteer George Stephenson

Man with make up on
Image caption Mr Stephenson has been made up to look like he has been thrown from his garage by a petrol blast

"First you have your brains removed, you have to be daft enough to be laid down in the wet and you get shot regularly," said 72-year-old George Stephenson.

Luckily, he has lived to tell the tale each time thanks to fire, police and ambulance teams being on hand to practice their life-saving skills.

The pensioner from Middlesbrough has been volunteering for the Casualties Union for 28 years.

The charity, which was set up during World War II, provides real people for the emergency services to practice on and is now looking for more volunteers.

Mr Stephenson simulates being a person in distress in an emergency situation so that medical teams can run through scenarios with real people as opposed to dummies.

'Body bag'

Using theatrical make up, bingo dabbers and other household items, Mr Stephenson can appear to have suffered severe burns in just 20 minutes.

He said: "I treat it as a hobby but since I retired I do more work on my hobby than I ever did when I was working... the wife doesn't like it being done in the house though.

"Today I will have burns, but I'm doing one tomorrow when I've been a victim of a stroke and I have been dead in a body bag.

"They strip all your clothes off to find any means of identification so the next of kin can have a record of who it is."

Mr Stephenson has also pretended to have bullet wounds in his arms, stab wounds in the stomach and back, amputated fingers, an open fractured femur and said he will have to simulate being a pregnant woman.

He also mimics how the injured person might be feeling to make the scenario as believable as possible.

"It's the body language, the tone and the whole layout that indicates an injury," he said.

"Because I've got heat and smoke in my throat, it affects my breathing, if it had gone further down my voice would change because it would have gone into my larynx."

'Came to life'

As a volunteer, Mr Stephenson does not get paid for his time and only has his expenses covered.

Image caption Mr Stephenson pretends to be out of breath in the scenario

He said: "I started doing casualty simulation with the Red Cross and I came across a book which told me how a person would stand with a broken ankle compared to a sprained ankle and I thought 'none of the first aid books tell you this'.

"I enjoy it, there's no two occasions alike. I was once told I was dead, I wasn't very happy about that because being dead isn't a priority so they would leave you there for two or three hours, but I suddenly came to life and got away."

David Bond from the Cleveland Fire Brigade said: "George supports our medical programmes and they're fantastic in the way they make themselves up.

"With the help of George it makes our training as realistic as possible and he replicates the medical conditions they are faced with when they attend incidents.

"With a real person they can have that level of realism that a dummy would not give you. They talk back to you and tell you what's wrong with them and respond to the medical interventions that you're doing with them."

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