MTT-Training for the Urban Terrain


Emergency Simulation Trains First Responders

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – Local first responders took part in an ultra-realistic emergency drill Monday involving an explosion with mass casualties.

The drill was staged by Strategic Operations, a part of the Stu Segall movie production company. Creators at the Kearny Mesa lot use movie techniques to make the training more realistic. They say the more real the training environment, the better the body adapts to stress.

“To get the heart rate up and to be able to work under actual stressful environments. To make the correct decisions at the correct time,” physician’s assistant trainee Kellen Gumm said.

This is the 12th year Strategic Operations has staged this type of training.

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Training Mission


Stu Segall, left, and Kit Lavell of Strategic Operations Inc. demonstrate the intensity of training aids available at the company’s Kearny Mesa site.

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Lavell declined to give his company’s revenue, but said the bulk of it is in military training. The business began as a movie studio in 1991 but shifted to military training after 9/11. Today, Strategic Operations competes for its work.  “We don’t get sole-source contracts,” Lavell said. In June, the business got a deal to train British soldiers at a military base in Alberta, Canada. Strategic Operations also offers training for law enforcement agencies.  Part of Strategic Operations’ business, both on- and off-site, is building sets. Its construction crews recently built a Navy destroyer interior at one of its Kearny Mesa sound stages to train sailors for scenarios like the bombing of the USS Cole. The enterprise put together a mock Middle Eastern village in the undeveloped, eastern part of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in 2004. And under the guidance of a U.S. Marine Corps general, it converted a 33,000-square-foot building at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton into an infantry simulator. Strategic Operations recently developed an actor-worn “cut suit” which bleeds when cut. The business is trying to interest its government client in using it more. The demand for such simulators may increase since animal rights advocates have objected to the military using live farm animals for medical lessons.