Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue

May 19, 2015 18:00 ET

A "Bloody" Good Rescue Exercise; Make-Up Artists Get Creative at Howe Sound SAREX

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - May 19, 2015) - When Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue volunteers practice their search and rescue skills on Howe Sound they will face some highly realistic first aid scenarios - made even more realistic with the help of Colbi Smith and her team of special effects makeup artists. Cuts, bruises, burns, lost limbs - you name it and Colbi can create it with her collection of liquid latex, gelatin, dyes, and "non-staining powdered blood".

"We want to pump up the pressure and give the first aid responders a realistic - and kind of scary experience," said Colbi, who has trained as a make-up artist and has worked on several films. "I really enjoy doing special effects because I can get creative. And a little bit crazy!"

Colbi and her team will provide makeup for 14 "victims" several times a day during the two-day search and rescue exercise (SAREX) which will bring together more than 150 crew members from 20 RCM-SAR stations on the South Coast. The annual event is an opportunity for crews to practice their seamanship, navigation, rescue and first aid skills, and work with their colleagues from around the region.

"The special effects makeup gets our crews used to the sight of blood and helps them focus on making the right decisions during a call," said Cheryl Caldwell, RCM-SAR's Director of Training and Operations.

So how do you create such realism? In addition to special theatrical makeup, Colbi uses a range of household items like red food dye and chocolate sauce (for injuries near the mouth), paper towels (for burns) and corn syrup (don't ask). Colbi notes that the products are safe and environmentally friendly.

Like all the other participants in this SAREX, Colbi and her team are volunteering their time for a good cause.

"The three of us trained together and we all enjoy working with first responders on these kinds of exercises because we know it helps crews cope with real-life situations," said Colbi. "I'm pretty proud of the effects I can create. After all, I used to work in my family's butcher shop."

About the SAREX: Mariners may notice more than a dozen RCM-SAR rescue vessels conducting exercises in Howe Sound between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, May 23-24. The exercise will be based out of Camp Elphinstone near Gibsons. A vessel is available for media.

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue is the charity that saves lives on the water. It is an all-volunteer organization that responds to an average of more than 800 emergencies each year on the west coast and in the B.C. Interior. Visit

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