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Business Of The Month - sweatFXmoulage



WARNING - some images in this article demonstrate simulations of injuries, and may cause distress. Discretion is advised.


It was during a posting to an ADF medical training facility that first gave Adrian Sweatman the idea for his business.


A Registered Nurse with a Diploma in Paramedical Science, Adrian had been in many real life situations, treating people with serious injuries, as well as countless training scenarios throughout the course of his 30+ years in the Army.


His perspective upon posting to a training establishment however was that the education outcomes were not as great as they could be, due to the quality of injury simulation.


More importantly, by not being exposed to 'high fidelity' scenarios that evoked as true an emotional response as possible, trainees were not receiving the critical resilience to trauma and de-sensitisation to both significant injuries and environment.


The concept for sweatFXmoulage was created in that moment.


9 years later, as he prepares for discharge from the Army in 2025, Townsville-based Adrian is a great example of how the skills and experiences gained in the Australian Defence Force are preparing him for a successful life beyond transition, in his own business.


US Army medics using a dummy with minor moulage applied. Such basic props do little to prepare first responders for the impact of real, catastrophic wounds and disaster environments. Image from Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3879279

Moulage is the term given to the art of applying mock injuries specifically for the purposes of training medical and first responder personnel. Examples of the technique trace back to the Renaissance period, where wax was used to help progress an understanding of how the human body worked, and how best to treat injury and illness.


Adrian's vision for sweatFXmoulage was to not only ensure training objectives were maximised by ensuring injury scenarios were as realistic as possible, but to also benefit the psychological impacts on those involved.


"Our mission is to promote realistic emergency service and first responder training through immersive and high-fidelity scenarios to evoke true emotional responses", Adrian explained.


A volunteer models a sweatFXmoulage facial burns injury.

The training environment sweatFXmoulage creates is purposely designed to promote resilience to trauma. The intent is that by doing so, trainees benefit from gradual de-sensitivity to traumatic injuries and environments, becoming better mentally prepared should they have to respond to real world events.


This is particularly relevant to military medics, where the extent of injuries related to combat are fortunately rare, yet personnel need to be ready for unique and catastrophic injuries.


moulage knee injury
Realistic presentation of a major upper arm injury. This level of sweatFXmoulage realism not only improves training outcomes, but better prepares trainees from the confronting nature of major wounds and disaster environments.

InnoClub Entrepreneur Program Manager, Tim Lewis, spoke with Adrian to learn more about

sweatFXmoulage, and how the knowledge and experience gained in the ADF is building a successful pathway for him beyond transition.


 

Tim: Tell us a little about sweatFXmoulage; what was your motivation for starting the business?


Adrian: When I started sweatFXmoulage in 2014, I'd been in the Army for more than 20 years and a clinician for more than a decade. I'd been on numerous war-like and natural disaster deployments, before being posted to an ADF medical training establishment.


Many people don't realise this, but training for disasters and emergencies, even war-like scenarios, isn't just about coordinating the various first responder elements and practicing medical techniques on 'patients'.


For trainees who are yet to be involved in real life situations, the shock of seeing human beings in actual pain, suffering horrific injuries, can cause stress and traumas that live with them the rest of their lives.


My motivation for starting sweatFXmoulage therefore was simple; to not only improve education outcomes by providing more realistic injury simulation and scenarios, but doing so in a way that promotes resilience to trauma in first responder personnel, and gradual desensitisation to traumatic environments.


moulage propeller strike
Simulated 'mild' propeller strike to the back of a victim.

Tim: Does your business retain any special connection to the ADF / First Responder communities?


Adrian: I'm still in the Army until the middle of 2025, so am fortunate to remain connected to both the Defence and First Responder communities through both employment as well as my client base.


Whilst my current job restricts my ability to physically expand the in-field component of the business, we're actively producing a growing range of products for both military and emergency service organisations.


Our moulage products, task trainers and emergency scenarios have been provided to the ADF, various state based Police, Fire and Ambulance Services, and private sector clients including LifeFlight and Cubic Defence Australia.


Once I'm in a position to grow sweatFXmoulage, I will definitely ensure that the ADF and First Responder communities are a key part of my success - whether through employment opportunities I'm able to create, or sourcing products and services from other Veteran / First Responder businesses.


Tim: What was the "moment" that led to starting the business?


Adrian: It was during my posting to an ADF medical training facility that gave me that 'moment'.


Without being disrespectful to Defence at the time, in my opinion the education outcomes were not as great as they could have been, due to the poor quality of injury simulation and many unrealistic scenarios.


Normal (civilian) emergencies, such as car accidents or burning properties, are a little easier to simulate, as are creating predicable injury types. Military scenarios are significantly more complicated ... fortunately your local ED is not going to see many presentations for artillery or grenade wounds.


The scenarios I first faced at the training facility just didn't appear realistic enough compared to the real-world scenarios an Army Medic might face.


A red splash of paint sprayed on a limb was supposed to represent an open fracture, with fresh bruising and arterial bleeding. The result was that the treater (trainee) would end up looking more to the instructor for guidance, rather than looking at the injury and knowing instinctively from their training what to treat, and how to do so.


Importantly, trainees were not getting exposed to the visual impacts of catastrophic wounds. Without this exposure, there's a risk of a medic being unprepared to perform their job in a real situation due to the shock and sensory overload of the 'real thing'. This is not just a risk to the patient, but to the longer term mental health of the responder.


That splash of red paint was actually the catalyst for the business.


Tim: What's your single biggest business challenge today?


Adrian: Launching a business but knowing I can't commit 100% to it until I leave the Army in June 2025 is probably my biggest challenge.


However, it's forced us to think strategically, and to focus on the areas of the business that can be scaled and worked on around my current responsibilities. We've seen good growth in products like emergency scenarios, task trainers and silicon wound production.


flesh wound moulage military emergency training scenario
"It's just a flesh wound." sweatFXmoulage ensures likely military and civilian scenarios are as realist as possible to deliver maximum training outcomes.

Tim: What's been your single biggest success?


Adrian: Building firm business relationships with different emergency services has been great, as it's pushed me outside of the military environment that I've been a part of for more than 30 years. That and the development of our own products; "task trainers" are specialised pieces of equipment that are designed to facilitate various treatment practices.


The best example is the dummy that everyone doing a CPR course uses for practicing mouth, etc. We've developing our own range and working on some other really exciting prototypes, especially for combat specific environments.


Other products we've developed include different 'wound' types, using silicon and other materials to give the greatest degree of realism.


This part of the business has been a real step forward, allowing me to grow revenue despite my current full time Army commitment which restricts the time I can spend on site with clients.



Tim: What's a favourite mantra that keeps you going?


Adrian: Train Realistically.


Tim: What advice could you offer other Veterans / First Responders thinking of starting their own business?


Adrian: If you have an idea and you believe it will make a difference, research the need and adjust to meet a niche market demand.

 

If your organisation is interested in any of the products or services offered by Adrian, please feel free to contact him directly at sweatfxmoulage@outlook.com


We love giving Veteran and First Responder businesses a free plug. Get in touch and tell us who we should be catching up with next month. And feel free to put your own business forward!


And don't forget to subscribe.



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