Strategic Operations - News

A collection of news and press items featuring Strategic Operations, Inc.

The Cut Suit®and AMOPS Annual Meeting and Medical Conference
March 5-8, 2020
Las Vegas, NV

Posted March 18, 2020

Representatives of Strategic Operations participated and supported demonstrations at the annual meeting and medical conference of The Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons. This was a premier educational event for the military medical professional and offered both basic and advanced sessions for military physicians and students in any stage of their career.

On Saturday March 7, attendees traveled via bus to Touro University Nevada to observe various simulated surgical procedures performed inside the Tang Regional Center for Clinical Simulation building. The Strategic Operations Cut Suit® was featured during a portion of this demonstration lead by the instructional expertise of Dr. Anthony Laporta, MD, FACS, Rocky Vista University.

Willow the dog is on the job, sniffing out Internet crimes against children

Posted February 21, 2020 (From The San Diego Union Tribune - 2/18/2020 - Original Article)

(Website Note: Strategic Operations also offers an environment for agencies in training detection dogs. Willow is just one of many dogs who have had the opportunity to hone their detection skills here at STOPS San Diego.)

The 2-year-old electronic scent detection dog has been on the job since November and already has been on a half dozen searches

FEB. 18, 2020 6 AM

Two-year-old lab Willow alerts to a cabinet where a hard drive is hidden while practicing searches with San Diego District Attorney’s Office Criminal Investigator Ron Burleson in the Internet Crimes Against Children task force office. Willow is trained to detect data storage devices such as hard drives, thumb drives and flash cards. (John Gibbins/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Since she started her new job in San Diego a couple months ago, Willow the English Labrador has already proven her worth to handler Ron Burleson.

The 2-year-old pup, specially trained to sniff out electronic storage devices, has gone out on a half dozen warrant and probation searches with Burleson, an investigator with the county District Attorney’s Office.

On one outing, she found a cellphone that law enforcement officers had missed.

“We are confident we are going to be able to find things that were missed before,” he said.

The pair is assigned to San Diego’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, a group that draws upon resources from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to target offenders who use the internet to sexually exploit children.

Decked out in a special vest that touts her electronic detection abilities, Willow looks for a distinct chemical compound used in electronic devices like cellphones, thumb drives, hard drives and memory cards. Such devices are often hidden by predators and can be difficult for law enforcement officers to find.

“We know when she hits, she’s hitting on storage media because there’s nothing else (the chemical she detects) would be used for,” he said.

When an electronic detection dog determines the unique odor is present, they will sit down to alert their trainers. When the dog is correct, he or she is given a food reward.

These specially trained dogs have assisted in high-profile cases including the arrest of former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle in 2015, who was convicted on child pornography and other charges. A dog named Bear helped investigators find thumb drives hidden at Fogle’s home.

Burleson said 31 dogs have undergone similar training to become electronic detection dogs, and Willow is the first one assigned to Southern California.

According to her online bio, Willow initially trained as a service dog but underwent a “career change” to become an electronic detection K9.

In a video produced by county District Attorney’s Office, Willow and Burleson are shown searching a room. Storage cards and cellphones are hidden in a box of plastic toys, in a cabinet and underneath a bean bag chair.

“Show me, show me,” Burleson says in the video as the canine investigator makes a find. “Oh, what a good dog!”

Willow, who cost more than $12,000, was paid for by a grant from the San Diego Police Foundation, Burleson said.

When she’s not finding hidden devices, Burleson said, Willow can help in other ways, too.

Sometimes law enforcement officers serve search warrants at a suspect’s home where children are around. “The dog there can act like a therapy dog and can be there to calm the kids down and bring some comfort to them,” Burleson said.

She also serves as an unofficial therapist in the task force’s Kearny Mesa office.

“When I’m not doing a search warrant, she’s there in the office. She goes from cubicle to cubicle, looking for someone to throw the ball for her,” he said. “When we are having a bad day looking at some of this evidence, (the dog) is kind of a nice addition.”

Burleson has three other dogs at home, where Willow lives. Because she’s a working dog, she is treated differently, particularly around mealtime.

Willow eats three cups of dog food a day, all of it from Burleson’s hand. “She never eats out of a bowl,” he said. “The only time she eats is out of my hand. I’m hiding stuff and we are searching for it and then she gets her reward.

“I’ve got to do that a couple times a day. It is definitely worth it, but it is a lot of work.”

Transforming Tactical Combat Casualty Care to Civilian Providers via Medical Simulation

Posted January 23, 2020 (From January 9, 2020 - Original Article)

Today’s emergency casualty care builds on lessons learned in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and active shooter and mass casualty tragedies in the civilian world. Lessons learned from tactical combat are crucial for the civilian space to understand and train for in today’s world. This information transfer has lead to unique government supported initiatives and innovative training products which are crucial for healthcare simulation programs to understand and incorporate. Here below, Strategic Operations’ Kit Lavell reviews the latest developments in education, training and medical simulation technologies designed to save lives in our contemporary world.

Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines were developed more than twenty years ago but matured during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. TCCC is based on Care Under Fire, Tactical Field Care, and Tactical Evacuation Care to address the three most preventable causes of death on the battlefield (and as discussed below, also on highways, in industrial accidents and active shooter and mass casualty tragedies): hemorrhage; tension pneumothorax; and airway obstruction (Butler, 2017). The TCCC skills have been proven safe and effective, and even somebody without medical training can perform them.

Massive hemorrhage is controlled with tourniquets, hemostatic dressings, junctional devices, and pressure dressings. The airway is managed by the rapid and aggressive opening of the airway to include cricothyroidotomy for difficult airways. Respiration and breathing are managed by the assessment for tension pneumothorax and the aggressive use of occlusive dressings and needle decompression devices to relieve tension and improve breathing.

As TCCC was applied in Afghanistan and Iraq in Role 1 Care (immediate and at a battlefield Medical Treatment Facility), the survival rate for a preventable death wounded, i.e., someone who was not killed outright, was about 95%. A preventable death is someone who has died from massive extremity hemorrhage, a tension pneumothorax, and/or airway obstruction. This was a significant increase over previous wars and resulted from TCCC being applied in the “Golden Hour” before being evacuated to Role 2 Care for surgery.

Over the last decade or more, TCCC techniques have filtered down to civilian trauma treatment and training, especially the use of tourniquets, hemostatic dressings, junctional devices, and pressure dressings. On October 6, 2015, the White House unveiled its “Stop the Bleed” campaign to encourage bystanders to act as immediate responders. Collaborating with the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, FEMA, the private sector, nonprofits, and the medical community, the “Stop the Bleed” initiative aims at raising awareness of life-saving techniques and providing public access to tools for bleeding control already used by EMS and the military.

Additionally, this campaign is a culmination of partnerships between the National Security Council at the White House, American Heart Association, American Red Cross, American College of Surgeons (ACS), Hartford Consensus, National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) and others. “Stop the Bleed” campaign’s goal is to train millions of Americans over the next decade.

Since its release date, June 25, 2019, the 2nd edition of the (NAEMT) Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) course teaches EMS practitioners on all levels how to respond to and care for patients in a civilian tactical environment. TECC is a set of best practice treatment guidelines for trauma care in high-threat prehospital settings. The guidelines are built from lessons learned by the U.S. and allied military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and were brought to the civilian sector via the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (Co-TCCC).

Train for TCCC with Nasco’s Rescue Randy

Nasco Healthcare recently introduced the Casualty Care Rescue Randy, an affordable, rugged, field-deployable, full-body manikin designed for enhanced realistic training on TECC procedures, powered by Strategic Operations Hyper-Realistic® technology. The Casualty Care Rescue Randy is designed for use by civilian EMS, EMT, Law Enforcement and other civilian and military medical first responders.

The manikin has articulated joints, mimics a human body’s weight distribution, holds three to four liters of simulated blood, has a foot-operated pump (an electronic pumping system is optional) to deliver blood to femoral, brachial, inguinal and carotid wounds, and allows for treatment interventions using extremity and junctional tourniquets, wound packing and pressure bandages. Airway management is accomplished with Nasopharyngeal, Oropharyngeal, and Cricothyroidotomy. Tension pneumothorax with Needle Decompression at the 4th/5th intercostal space in the anterior axillary line and at the 2nd/3rd intercostal space in the mid-clavicular line. A penetrating chest wound allows for an occlusive dressing to be applied.

The Casualty Care Rescue Randy’s skin is user repairable, and unlike other manikins, it does not have a “target” that “guides” the provider where to place the needle. The provider must visually locate and properly palpate to determine correct placement. Casualty Care Rescue Randy comes with simulated blood, repairable neck skins, repairable tracheas, and a repair kit. There is a tremendous need for realistic, user-repairable manikins to teach first responders proper tactical medicine techniques – that are affordable – and rugged enough to be used in the field.

“We use Casualty Care Rescue Randy manikins in the classroom and field portions of our NAEMT and POST-certified tactical medicine courses,” says Wyatt Sabo, Medical Training Program Manager at Strategic Operations in San Diego. “First responders can practice life-like training solutions for real-life situations.”

Expansion of Specialized Training for TCCC from the DHA

Last summer, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs chartered a working group of members of the Defense Health Agency (DHA) and other military services responsible for developing a structured Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) curriculum for all service members (ASM). TCCC ASM was released on August 1st and will be the first level of four-tiered standardized TCCC curricula to be completed. The TCCC ASM course follows the MARCH algorithm and covers five lifesaving skills (rapid casualty assessment, tourniquet application, hemostatic dressing, pressure dressing, and airway maneuvers) over 6 hours that will serve both as the minimum standard of care for all service members and act as the foundation for the four-tiered TCCC program (Remley, 2019).

The second tier, Combat Lifesaver (CLS), was released on December 31, 2019 and follows MARCH PAWS, which helps familiarize TCCC concepts and lifesaving skills to render medical aid to a trauma casualty. The course provides information through a short lecture followed by interactive, hands-on training and formal evaluation. The CLS TCCC Course encompasses tactical trauma assessment, bleeding control interventions, airway and respiratory management techniques, and proper lift, drag, and carry methods. The course also covers the prevention and treatment of shock, burns, eye injuries, splints, pain management, critical communication, and medical documentation practices. Upon completion of this 40-hour course, students will be qualified at a TCCC basic level.

They are based on the MARCH PAWS algorithm:

M – Massive bleeding

A – Airway

R – Respiration

C – Circulation

H – Hypothermia/Head





Strategic Operations is an authorized NAEMT Training Center that hosts numerous medical training courses; LEFR, TECC, TCCC, and TMT. The Law Enforcement First Response (LEFR) is a course that teaches first responders and allied professionals the primary medical care interventions, which can save an injured person’s life until conventional EMS arrives. The TECC 2nd edition course delivered by STOPS is certified by the ACS and is consistent with the most current guidelines established by C-TECC.

The 40-hour Tactical Medicine Technician (TMT) course prepares SWAT medics and Rescue Task Force (RTF) deployments to mass casualty and active shooter situations. Strategic Operations uses the crawl, walk, run teaching methodology that takes the students from the repetitive practice of core TACMED skills and progress through the full hyper-realistic stress inoculation scenarios using the Casualty Care Rescue Randy.


Butler, F. K. (2017). Two Decades of Saving Lives on the Battlefield: Tactical Combat Casualty Care Turns 20. Military Medicine, 182(3/4), e1563–e1568.

Feldman, R. (2019). Committee for Tactical Emergency Casualty Care.

Remley, M. (2019). Changes Coming to TCCC Training. Infantry 108(2), 47-49.

Stop the Bleed – Campaign – AEMS.

Tactical Combat Casualty Care Guidelines (2019). Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC).

Tactical emergency casualty care (TECC): Course manual (2nd ed.). (2020). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

A hyper-realistic active shooter and mass casualty simulation helps to prepare for the real event

Posted January 20, 2020

Dozens of first responders took place in a simulated active shooter and mass casualty event on Saturday in Kearny Mesa. Local firefighters, paramedics, and police participated in the event to teach educators and clinicians how to conduct similar scenarios for crisis training across the country. The training exercise was for attendees of the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare conference (IMSH 2020) taking place in San Diego. The San Diego conference included healthcare educators and clinicians from across the world.

The event took place on the backlot of the former Stu Segall Productions TV studio. The simulation included hyper-realistic explosions and actors portraying active shooters, bombers and point of injury casualties.

The event also included a new "Cut Suit ®," a training suit that can be worn by people to simulate actual surgical procedures.

"Paramedics will perform life-saving procedures on people wearing the Cut Suit at the point of injury," said STOPS Executive Vice President Kit Lavell. "And doctors will perform surgery on live humans in the operating room. Of course, they will be wearing Cut Suits."

Watch the video on CBS8 Website

8th Annual Intensive Surgical and Trauma Skills Course (ISTSC)

Posted June 6, 2019

A unique emergency room in San Diego was inundated all week recently with trauma casualties and very sick people requiring surgery, and second year medical students performed surgeries. The trauma resulted from overturned cars, active shooters and improvised explosive devices. Real firefighters, paramedics, and police were the first responders at the scene.

All this occurred at Strategic Operations on the back lot of Stu Segall Productions TV/film studio and the ER and operating rooms are simulation labs constructed for a very unique – one of a kind in the nation – Intensive Surgical & Trauma Skills Course (ISTSC). Forty-two surgeries were performed on live humans – wearing Strategic Operations’ human-worn simulators called “Cut Suits ®,” the only hyper-realistic open surgical simulators in the world.

Read More about the 8th Annual Intensive Surgical and Trauma Skills Course (ISTSC)

Mass Casuality Exercise - Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada

Posted June 6, 2019

(ST/OPS Canada ) conducted a Mass Causality exercise in partnership with the City of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. These full scale emergency exercises prepare police, fire, and EMS to respond to a major crisis.

Chat News Today Canada reported on this unique and vital exercise.

Read More and Watch Video

Realistic Trauma Training Hones Surgical Teams

Posted December 18, 2018 (From Proceedings - December 2018 issue)

With up-to-date intensive curriculum in an immersive environment, simulations can improve medical readiness and patient outcomes.

Read More (PDF)

Damage-Control Medicine

Posted December 18, 2018 (From Seapower Magazine, December 2018 issue)

Immersive Training Prepares Medical Personnel for Future En-Route Care, Evacuation Scenarios

Read More (PDF)

Smithsonian Channel - Clip from Air Warriors: Season 6: Episode 5 - featuring Kit Lavell

Posted September 17, 2018

Strategic Operations' Kit Lavell describes a mission in Vietnam 1971, in which they were instructed to head back in to battle in their OV-10 Bronco only to realize they were out of ammunition.

Watch Clip from Smithsonian Channel

Strategic Operations in the News - Simulated Attack Response - FOX 5 San Diego Coverage

Posted May 11, 2018

On 29 April through 4 May 2018 students from Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM) military medicine track will be joined by students from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine and the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) at Western University of Health Sciences.

Strategic Operations in the News - Intensive Surgical Skills and Trauma Week - KUSI San Diego Coverage

Posted May 11, 2018

On 29 April through 4 May 2018 students from Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM) military medicine track will be joined by students from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine and the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) at Western University of Health Sciences.

Intensive Surgical & Trauma Skills Week (ISTSC) at Strategic Operations May 1-4, 2018

Posted May 8, 2018 (From Medical Training Magazine May 1, 2018

A unique emergency room in San Diego, California will be inundated with trauma casualties and very sick people requiring surgery May 1-4, and second year medical students will be those performing surgeries. The simulated trauma scenarios will result from overturned cars, active shooters, a high-rise fire and improvised explosive devices. Real firefighters, paramedics and police will be the first responders at the scene.

Read More

The Seventh Annual Hyper-Realistic® Intensive Surgical & Trauma Skills Week (ISTSC) will be conducted at Strategic Operations April 29 to May 4, 2018

Posted April 26, 2018 (Press Release)

Second Year Medical Students Immersed in Week-Long Series of Life or Death Scenarios Involving Overturned Cars, Active Shooters and IEDs

SAN DIEGO — April 29, 2018 — A unique emergency room in San Diego will be inundated all week with trauma casualties and very sick people requiring surgery, and second year medical students will be those performing surgeries.

The trauma will result from overturned cars, active shooters, a high-rise fire, and improvised explosive devices. Real firefighters, paramedics, and police will be the first responders at the scene. All this will occur at Strategic Operations (STOPS) on the back lot of Stu Segall Productions TV/film studio and the ER and operating rooms are simulation labs constructed for a very unique – one of a kind in the nation – Intensive Surgical & Trauma Skills Course (ISTSC).

From 29 April to May 4, Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM) in Parker, Colorado, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCUMB) and the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) at Western University of Health Sciences will conduct the ISTSC at STOPS’ Simulation Lab. Overhead catwalks and video camera systems enable live viewing and after action review. Forty-five live-action, Hyper-Realistic® simulations of both medical and surgical problems will be created, immersing the participants from point of injury all the way through the ER and OR.

Thirty-five surgeries will be performed on live humans – wearing Strategic Operations’ simulators called “Cut Suits®.”

Thirty-six second-year medical students, many teaching faculty and visiting surgeons and physicians, as well as surgical and ER residents and staff from Balboa Naval Hospital and local hospitals will participate.

“Medical students commonly state that they do not truly understand or recognize a textbook description of a disease or a syndrome until they experience the clinically applicable version of it,” said Strategic Operations Executive Vice President Kit Lavell. “In efforts to reduce the gaps in knowledge and technical skills prior to starting third-year clinical clerkships as well as improve competencies and confidence, this week-long ISTSC mimics a General Surgery rotation.

Lavell said the ISTSC will utilize the “Cut-Suit®,” a human worn surgical simulator, stress-immersion, and other educational modalities in an effort to better prepare medical students for their third-year surgical and emergency medicine rotations. RVUCOM was the first medical school to incorporate the “Cut-Suit®” into medical student education, and when integrated into an ISTSC, it can provide that hands-on experience prior to clinical clerkships by presenting real-life scenarios to medical students in a flexible, safe, efficient and cost-conscious manner.

Rocky Vista University (RVU) is a health sciences university located in Parker, Colorado. RVU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM) was founded in 2006 and opened its doors in August of 2008, enrolling students in its four year program of study leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree. The University is located in a 145,000-square-foot contemporary facility on twenty acres, housing the latest in classroom, lecture, laboratory and audiovisual equipment, with additional instruction conducted at numerous teaching hospitals throughout the state of Colorado. Rocky Vista University provides quality healthcare education while inspiring students to serve with compassion, integrity and excellence. For more information, visit or call 720-875-2804.

Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences graduates more physicians annually than any other medical school in Missouri. Active in the Kansas City medical community since 1916, KCUMB is one of the oldest and largest of the nation’s 29 colleges of osteopathic medicine. KCUMB is known as a leader in osteopathic medical education, with an educational environment that emphasizes both academic excellence and the education of caring physicians who place their patients’ needs above all else. For more information, visit or call 816-654-7000.

The College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) was established in 1977 in Pomona, California as a direct and important response to a critical shortage of primary care physicians in the western United States. COMP remained as the only osteopathic medical school west of the Rocky Mountains for 18 years. In 1996, COMP was restructured into Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU), which is one of the largest graduate schools for the health professions in California. In 2011, WesternU expanded and opened COMP-Northwest in Lebanon, Oregon to provide medical education to the Pacific Northwest. After 40 years, they have graduated over 5,294 physicians with the majority choosing a career in primary care medicine. For more information, please visit or call (909)623-6116 for the Pomona campus or (541)259-0200 for the Lebanon campus.

About Strategic Operations

Strategic Operations Inc., on the lot of Stu Segall Productions, a full-service TV / movie studio in San Diego, Calif., provides “Hyper-Realistic®” training services and products for military, law enforcement and other organizations responsible for homeland security. The company employs state-of-the-art Hollywood battlefield special effects, combat wound effects, medical simulation systems like the “Cut Suit®,” role players, subject matter experts, and training scenarios to create training environments that are the most unique in the industry. Over the last 15 years Strategic Operations has provided Hyper-Realistic® training support to more than 850,000 military – and civilian first responders – in the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit To Follow ISSC week go to “Contact Us” Make sure to enter your e-mail and paste ISTSC_4-29-2018 in the remarks section of the web form.


Advanced Surgical Skills Package (ASSP) to be on display at IMSH

Posted January 15, 2018 (Press Release)

Strategic Operations To Announce New Surgical Skills Product — The Advanced Surgical Skills Package (ASSP) at 2018 International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) January 14-16 in Los Angeles

Surgeons Will Perform Surgery Using ASSP a Live Human Wearing a Surgical Simulator (‘Cut Suit’) at the Los Angeles Convention Center

LOS ANGELES – January 15, 2018 – Strategic Operations (STOPS) will announce an innovative new surgical simulation product — the Advanced Surgical Skills Package (ASSP) — at the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) January 14-16 at the Los Angeles. Convention Center. IMSH is the most important healthcare simulation conference of the year.

The ASSP will drop into the STOPS human-worn simulator, known as the Cut Suit, as a plug-and-play module to provide high fidelity anatomy for specific surgical procedures such as repair of damaged spleen, damaged liver, perforated small bowel or any other trauma or pathology requiring open surgery. Additional ASSPs will be introduced for other abdominal as well as thoracic surgical procedures.

CAE Healthcare is the global distributor of Strategic Operations medical products. At the CAE booth #300 at 12:45 PM on Monday January 15, a surgeon will perform a splenectomy using the ASSP.

STOPS developed the human-worn surgical simulator (Cut Suit) to provide hyper-realistic continuum of care training and education. “Instead of practicing on a manikin, first responders at the point of injury can perform life-saving procedures on a real person wearing the Cut Suit. The victim can be transported to the emergency room where physicians can safely practice treating a live person wearing the Cut Suit with life-threatening injuries. In the operating room, surgeons can perform realistic surgeries on live humans wearing the Cut Suit without injuring them,” According to STOPS Executive Vice President Kit Lavell.

Since its introduction five years ago the Cut Suit has been an important advance in creating hyper-realistic, immersive simulations for medical training and education.

The ASSPs will be shipped to Cut Suit clients with pre-paid returnable cases, complete with instructions, DVDs, surgical blood and other accessories – on a daily rental basis. No need for the client to repair – only flush with water and ship back in the postage pre-paid container. ASSPs will be available in this spring.

# # #

Strategic Operations host American College of Surgeons Stop The Bleed Course

Posted October 19, 2017 (Press Release)

Contact: Kim A. Merrill
Merrill Marketing/Communications
(858) 547-1865

Strategic Operations Hosts American College of Surgeons Stop the Bleed Course
Medical students will learn bleeding control techniques in a hyper-realistic active-shooter scenario at San Diego movie set.

SAN DIEGO (20 October 2017) — Members of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and other qualified instructors will train 40 medical students in life-saving bleeding control techniques this Sunday October 22, from 7:30 to 10:30 AM during a training session, hosted by Strategic Operations on the lot of the former Stu Segall Productions TV/Movie studio. Under simulated circumstances, ACS surgeons will teach medical students to control serious bleeding with tourniquets and wound packing on live actors posing as seriously injured bystanders in a hyper-realistic active-shooter scenario with movie-style enhancements including gunfire, explosions, and medical special effects.

These simulated injuries on live humans will be treated at the point of injury and the patients next transported to a realistic emergency room, and then on to the operating room where mock operations will be performed on the Human Worn Surgical Simulator known as the “Cut Suit.”

The training session is part of the “Stop the Bleed®” initiative, which began in 2015 and puts forth Presidential Policy Directive 8 for national preparedness, which targets preparedness as a shared responsibility of the government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and individual citizens. Enhancing survivability from active shooter and other mass casualty events by turning bystanders into lifesavers is at the core of Stop the Bleed training. This initiative grew out of the a cross-disciplinary group of stakeholders called the Hartford Consensus convened by the American College of Surgeons after the Sandy Hook mass shooting tragedy, and is now being promoted nationally by the ACS Committee on Trauma and Department of Homeland Security. The Hartford Consensus advocates that “no one should die from uncontrolled bleeding.”

The 40 participants taking the training course are among a group of more than 300 medical students who are in San Diego this week to attend the American College of Surgeons annual Clinical Congress, which convenes at the San Diego Convention Center, October 22-26. The Clinical Congress is one of the largest educational meetings of surgeons in the world and is expected to draw at least 13,000 attendees, including surgeons, allied health professionals, and industry representatives.

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Camp Dodge, Iowa - Cut Suit Use

Posted August 11, 2017

Camp Dodge, Iowa – Capt. Vanessa Lagrange, Medical Training OIC, shows the various prosthetics used during training in the medical treatment facility portion to with LTG Charles D. Luckey, Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General, United States Army Reserve Command, while touring the Sustainment Training Center at Camp Dodge Joint Maneuver Training Center in Johnston, Iowa on July 19, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael McGhee/Released)

Team Australia EMS Students and JEMS Editorial Staff visit Strategic Operations in San Diego, California

Posted August 11, 2017 (Original article: July 19, 2017)

By AJ Heightman, MPA, EMT P
Editor in Chief, JEMS

This week the JEMS Editorial Staff spent time time with 19 paramedic students and EMS system supervisors from Australia and New Zealand who are in the United States on a cooperative tour with assistance from JEMS and other agencies to provide an extreme educational experience for their degree paramedic students.

Read Article

Medical Training gets 'Real' on the Big Stick

Posted July 31, 2017

SAN DIEGO (NNS) — The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt’s (CVN 71) Medical department participated in a medical readiness inspection involving the most realistic simulations ever employed aboard an aircraft carrier, July 24.

Read Article

Great Big Story - "History Will Remember the Inventor of Liquid Ass"

Posted June 28, 2017

How did a prank product become part of military training technology? This is the story of the one and only "Liquid Ass". (With an appearance by Stu Segall of Strategic Operations.)

5th Annual Intensive Surgical Skills Course Week (1 May - 6 May) at STOPS
A Letter from an Attending Medical Student

Posted May 18, 2017

I would like to share with you my experiences in San Diego this past week. I was able to participate in “hyper-realistic” training for mass-casualty emergencies with 29 other medical students from two other schools. It was an experience that is difficult for me to put into words, and an attempt at fleshing out my thoughts is going to be a challenge. But hey, here’s to trying!

On day one, we were asked to write down what motivated us in medical school. And we were asked again on the last day. And I wrote down the following:

Day 1: “Success”

Day 6: “To save someone one day”

And that is a pretty accurate description of my week down in San Diego. I could stop here and leave it at that, but there’s so much depth to my training that I don’t want to short-change anyone and keep it for myself. Sure, I lost one week of “dedicated board prep” for our little adventure. But our experience was so much more than that. It was more of an existential journey, as cliche as that sounds, for my motivation in studying medicine. And to be honest, recently my motivation has been lacking, as one may tell with my simple half-hearted answer of “success” (which at the time, I thought was a pretty decent answer, because I wanted to prove myself — but that’s another story). So let me explain by putting you in my shoes for half of a day here.

Imagine for yourself, the following scenario:

You are the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed straight-out-of-medical-school Army physician who is relieving a colleague of a currently stable 45-year-old male patient who came in a few hours ago from a blast injury. Let’s face it — you haven’t experienced trauma before. The chaos around you is new to you, but it seems to have cooled down. The patient has two fractures: a left-humeral and left-femoral fracture. He lost 1L of blood which was replenished with 2U type-matched blood and 1L IV crystalloid fluids and was also given 2g Ceftriaxone IV. Xrays show complicated angular fractures of both extremities. He had a negative FAST exam and no head trauma. After the hand-off, you get to know the patient — his favorite movies, his recent trip to Baltimore — where hey! That’s where you’re from!… when all of a sudden he starts bleeding profusely from the loosened tourniquet on his lower leg and begins to have a massive seizure. You are the physician.

Before you can think, two other colleagues rush to jump on the bleeding leg tourniquet, compressing it with their knees and yanking the tourniquet tight. The patient’s seizing and it’s your job to stop it. You can’t remember the drug to give the patient. You’re freaking out. From past experiences, the only real-life seizures you’ve seen were managed with waiting it out. So that’s all you can think of doing. But your patient doesn’t stop. He’s foaming at the mouth. He’s shaking all over and blood is all over your hands.

He’s in status epilepticus.

You don’t know what to do. You can’t remember how to help this patient. Even though you’ve been taught, over and over, about Ativan.

“Ativan!” someone shouts at you, “give that patient some fucking Ativan!!!!” and your body’s running for you towards the medication cabinet.. But it’s not anywhere. “How much Ativan are you going to give??”, and you realize you can’t remember the dose. Wait, were we even taught what the dose was? And then you remember. You’re not a physician. You’re a second year medical student, playing the role as a physician. You don’t know. You can’t even find the make-believe vial labeled Ativan. You weren’t required to know based off your curriculum. In panic, you ask your fellow doctors, AKA other second year medical students, who are now trying to escort out the worried-onlookers who rushed into your ER. No one can help you. And your patient is seizing, frying his brain right in front of you. And it’s your fault you don’t know. The REAL Navy physician supervising you has such a disappointed look on his face that reads: your lack of knowledge is killing this man.

Your mind is blank.

“If you don’t know what to do, look it up!! You have a phone!!” the Navy physician finally yells at you. So you stumble for your phone. In your nervousness, you can’t type right. You keep typing “atrivab doxage”, or “attivam dpsagr”, until finally you get it right. You find it: 0.5 mg to 2 mg IV. You rush to your patient to administer 1mg IV Ativan, and they finally stop seizing. You order more tests — FAST exam, chest XRAY, non-contrast head CT…

And you finally breathe again.


This was the scenario I had on my last day at STOPS, and was by far the most motivating, and educational day for me there. “Success”? sure. But to me, I don’t care about proving myself anymore. One day I will be presented with a patient like him. In a real scenario, the knowledge I SHOULD have had may not come because of my lack of motivation to study all those years ago — which is right now. And that is why, my motivation for medical school has drastically changed. I am EXCITED to study for boards. The more I learn, the more deaths I can prevent from my own ignorance. There is no substitute in education for hands-on experience. That is what motivates you.

At least that’s what now motivates me. And as a last note: now I will never, ever forget to now give a seizing trauma patient a dose of Ativan (which, I was told later, should have been 2mg because it was such an emergency, hehe). As I said on my Facebook post, I am so grateful for this week’s experience. I can’t wait to get out on rotations and apply this knowledge to actually help people, and “to save someone one day”.

Theresa Price, OMSII
2LT, US Army, MC
WesternU, COMP

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ABC 10 News: Medical Students train for Mass Casualty Events

Posted May 5, 2017

ABC 10 News (San Diego) coverage of a mass casualty training event at Strategic Operations.

NBC 7 News: Active Shooter Drill Trains Medical Students With Hyper Realistic Simulations in Kearny Mesa

Posted May 5, 2017 ( Original Article - May 2, 2017)

"This hyper-realistic hospital environment is intended to allow for the willing suspension of disbelief," stated Stu Segall, who previously worked in Hollywood as a TV producer.

By Cassia Pollock

An active shooter simulation was held in Kearny Mesa Tuesday, featuring actors with multiple mock injuries and hyper-realistic medical simulations, said a representative for Strategic Operations.

Thirty students in their second year of medical school gathered at Strategic Operations at the 4000 block of Ruffin Road at 1 p.m., as part of emergency training for medical students from across the nation.

There were also Emergency Response staff from Balboa Naval Hospital and Kaiser Permanente, as well as law enforcement and Fire Department first responders.

It’s part of a week-long series of life or death scenarios such as flipped cars, active shooters and improvised explosive devices, for the Sixth Annual Hyper-Realistic Surgical Skills Week, according to Strategic Operations.

Real firefighters, paramedics and police were also involved in the simulations.

“Medical students commonly state that they do not truly understand or recognize a textbook description of a disease or a syndrome until they experience the clinically applicable version of it,” said Strategic Operations Executive Vice President Kit Lavell, in a statement.

The series was held on the back lot of the Stu Segall Productions TV/film studio and a specially constructed emergency room for the unique Intensive Surgical Skills Course (ISSC). This course is the only one of its kind in the nation, according to Strategic Operations.

The shooter drill featured live actors wearing the Strategic Operations “Cut Suit,” according to Strategic Operations. Thirty-five surgeries were performed on the “Cut Suits.” Law enforcement are first responders in the simulation which includes victims being treated in mock emergency care and simulated surgeries.

President of Strategic Operations, Stu Segall, intended to design a super realistic hospital environment with operating rooms and the ER for medical students and doctors.

This hyper-realistic hospital environment is intended to allow for the willing suspension of disbelief, stated Stu Segall, who previously worked in Hollywood as a TV producer.

Saliva samples were collected from the students, doctors and first responders before and after the hyper-realistic demos, so they can be used to measure stress levels, according to Strategic Operations.

Overall, the series is used to help medical students learn real-life skills they can’t pick up in a textbook.

STOPS Cut Suit - Beaver Creeks's Birds of Prey World Cup Downhill

Posted March 14, 2017

By Paddy O'Connell - From the Deep Winter Issue

The radio squawks and your heart is a 10-pound sledgehammer. A racer on Beaver Creek’s Birds of Prey World Cup downhill course compressed awkwardly at 67 miles per hour and tomahawked through the orange safety fencing. You arrive to bloodstained snow. A femur bone—splintered like a broomstick—protrudes from the skier’s right thigh. Blood garden hoses from the wound. The patient screams in agony. His femoral artery is severed. He will die in less than five minutes if you can’t stop the bleeding. It’s all up to you.

OK, breathe. This is only a drill. The skier is a med student from Rocky Mountain Vista University School of Medicine (RMVU) wearing a Strategic Operations’ Cut Suit, a hyper realistic field surgical simulator. Even the fake blood looks, feels, and smells authentic. Another med student remotely squirts liter after liter of fake blood out of the prosthetic wound. This is the most intense of the five on-mountain training scenarios Dr. Larry Gaul, United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Tony LaPorta, professor of surgery at RMVU, are using to train 70 World Cup volunteer doctors in emergency medical procedures at a Beaver Creek seminar.

USSA has employed the Cut Suit for the last five years, to recreate World Cup injuries. The compound femur scenario comes from Aksel Svindal’s 2007 Beaver Creek crash, which nearly cost him his leg and career. The quick response of the medical staff saved Svindal. The context, and the realism of the Cut Suit produces the emotional, psychological, and physiological reactions physicians experience in a crash like Svindal’s—and force them to fight through them. “The Cut Suit creates that same stress,” says Kit Lavell, Executive Vice President of Strategic Operations. “The body engages the fight or flight response. Participants exhibit the same real life response to trauma: tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, loss of fine motor skills.”

The goal isn’t to eliminate those stressors. Performing while a patient is bleeding to death is inherently stressful. But, says Lavell, with training, you can perform better under pressure.

Back in real time, blood is sprinkling the snowpack. You drop next to the shrieking skier, ask his name, tell him who you are, and that you’re here to help. Your chest swells with quick, short breaths. Your hands shake as you pull on blue latex gloves. But you’re in the zone when the cuff snaps on your wrist. The racer’s head jerks back and he bellows as you dig your left knee into his hip crease and put pressure on the laceration with your right hand. The warm, quick flow of blood pulses through your fingers at first, but slows as you weight your knee. A toboggan with a full medical kit and tourniquet is on the way. You are the first responder at a World Cup—and you just saved a skier’s life.

Gruntwritten by Mary Roach

Posted January 16, 2017

Grunt tackles the science behind some of a soldier's most challenging adversaries―panic, exhaustion, heat, noise―and introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer them.

As detailed in one chapter, Mary visits Strategic Operations to observe a Hyper-Realistic ® training scenario where amputee actors help prepare Marine Corps medics for the shock and gore of combat wounds.

Available from Amazon

Email Feedback: Realistic Training Better Prepares One for Stressful Environments

Posted January 15, 2017

(On January 12, 2017, Dr. LaPorta received an email from one of his students who went through ISSC two years ago and who graduates in May. 1st Lt Anthony Garzone USA will be going to Ft Gordon on active duty after graduation.)

From: Anthony Garzone
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2017 12:57 PM
To: Dr. Anthony LaPorta
Subject: trauma

Dr. LaPorta,

I hope this email finds you well. I just wanted to let you know about an experience I had this morning. I was on my way to work in the Springs when I witnessed a car hit 5 small children. One girl was trapped under the back wheel. Myself and several guys lifted the car off her and I went to work. I took charge instinctively and immediately started my primary survey.

The whole time I could hear your voice along with everyone else’s voice from cut suit week yelling in my head to “Do they have an airway?! Make them breathe!” etc etc.

I felt comfortable and calm during the event and with help from a stranger I was able to do a full primary and secondary survey. As well as, give a good coherent sign off to both the 911 dispatch as well as the EMTs once they arrived.

I must admit, I do not think I would have been as calm or confident (or even knew what the hell I was doing for that matter) without the basic training we got in San Diego.

With that, I wanted to say thank you for your hard work and what you and the rest of the guys do at cut suit week for us students. I did not realize the true value of it until today.

Anthony Garzone

Firm Offers Cut Suits as Real Plus to Medical Training

Posted December 31, 2016 ( Original Article: September 9, 2016)

Doctors clad in head-to-toe surgical gear clustered around an operating table in a brightly lit room at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Lying in a pool of blood on the table in front of them was 30-year-old David Escobar, who just had a tracheotomy tube inserted into his throat as the doctors accessed his chest to control bleeding.

The only signs that this emergency surgery was anything other than real were the video cameras circling the patient and the smattering of onlookers craning their necks to watch the procedure. Escobar is, in fact, a technician at the Women’s Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills, and he’s donned a $60,000, state-of-the art surgical training apparatus called a Cut Suit so that new and veteran doctors can sharpen their knife skills.

“If you have a real human being laying there, in a real operating room, and they’re cutting into what they think is a real person, that sticks in their mind,” said Russell Metcalfe-Smith, health systems manager for the simulation center. “It doesn’t have to be a real patient, but it’s a real experience.”

The Cut Suit has traditionally been used as a practice tool for military, law enforcement, and first responders, but an increasing number of medical schools and hospitals have been purchasing it for hands-on training. Cedars began using the suits a few months ago, investing in this new technology with the expectation it will pay off in both lives saved and reduced financial costs for patients, hospitals, and the health care system as a whole.

Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States, resulting in more than 250,000 deaths a year, according to a report released in May from Johns Hopkins University researchers.

Dr. Alistair Phillips, co-director of the Guerin Family Congenital Heart Program at Cedars, likened the necessity for medical simulation to that of pilots learning to fly. For example, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger had practiced the famous emergency landing he executed on the Hudson River in 2009 in a simulation session prior to the actual event, said Phillips. While doctors can practice procedures on mannequins, the Cut Suit, worn by a live person, provides an added level of realism that allows residents to immerse themselves in the experience.

“Even though you’re cutting into, basically a costume, … there’s a person there,” said Phillips. “Team-based simulation is the future of medical education.”

Medicine meets Hollywood

The simulation center opened three years ago at Cedars, and the 10,000-square-foot space includes two fully functional operating rooms, an intensive care unit, an OB/GYN unit, and a trauma bay. Each room is set up to mirror an actual facility, complete with lifelike mannequins that have heartbeats, blink, talk, and breathe, and can even be used to practice obstetric procedures and heart surgery.

Over the course of a year, more than 20,000 staff and visiting medical personnel will use the simulation center’s services, said Metcalfe-Smith, from top-notch surgeons sharpening their skills to cleaning crews practicing decontamination of hospital rooms. In addition to internal medical staff, the center has hosted training sessions for local schools and emergency service teams, including paramedics from the Beverly Hills Fire Department.

“We can reduce the amount of error by making sure staff are confident and competent here in the simulation facility,” he added.

Even if a medical mistake isn’t fatal, it can result in costly, long-term health or financial complications for a patient and health care provider, said Metcalfe-Smith.

That’s where the Cut Suit comes in.


Designed and manufactured by San Diego-based Strategic Operations Inc., the Cut Suit is made of plastics and elastomers including silicon and urethane, a much safer material on which to practice than human tissue.

“If you can’t make a mistake, you don’t know how to recover from it,” said Kit Lavell, Strategic Operations’ executive vice president.

The company was founded in 2002 as part of Stu Segall Productions, a TV and film studio that specialized in action and adventure flicks. The studio saw a sharp decline in production demands after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, so Segall decided to repurpose the hyper-realistic sets, props, and special effects to go into the business of military and law enforcement training.

“We created a unique blend of military and Hollywood,” said Lavell.

Strategic Operations has been developing the surgical Cut Suit over the last five years, he said, building a three-dimensional, interactive training tool with skin that can be sliced open and ribs that can be broken. The surgical Cut Suit comes equipped with synthetic blood designed to look, and even smell, like the real thing and uses a patented “Liquid Ass” smell that gets released when an incision is made into the bowels.

Growing industry

While national medical school standards set by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education require residents in certain programs have access to simulation, the way in which this training is fulfilled is at a school’s discretion.

USC’s Keck School of Medicine doesn’t use Cut Suits, said Dr. Maura Sullivan, executive director of the surgical skills training and education center in the department of surgery.

Although they do provide a valuable level of realism, she said, it’s important to focus on what best serves the curriculum and get past the bells and whistles of new simulation technology.

“It’s expensive, and these products all cost money, so you have to decide the risk- benefit ratio,” she said.

In addition to cost, simulation mannequins and technology are still synthetic, said Sullivan, who believes in using real flesh whenever appropriate. That’s why at USC, she opts to teach with human cadavers, which cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 each and can be used to practice six to seven procedures.

“It is more cost-efficient for us and we just tend to like practicing on human tissue,” she said.

USC has the added luxury of being able to store the cadavers for extended use, as the school has access to the crypts at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.

Whatever the method, the ultimate goal of medical training is to develop simulation scenarios that mimic actual clinical settings, Sullivan said, allowing doctors to practice technical skills, beef up their confidence, and learn how to respond in high-stress situations.

Strategic Operations’ surgical Cut Suit is just one facet of this rapidly growing industry.

In September of last year, Strategic Operations signed a distribution deal with CAE Healthcare, an international manufacturer of simulation technologies. In addition to Cedars, the Cut Suit is being used at a few dozen hospitals and medical schools throughout the country.

The suit is reusable and can be stitched or “welded” after each use, so it can be practiced on about 300 times before requiring replacement skin or organs, said Metcalfe-Smith. He touts it as a common-sense approach to improving quality of care that will save money for patients, doctors, and health care systems in general in the long run.

“We are going to see a reduction in problems, we are going to see a reduction in adverse events, we are going to start delivering better care,” he said.

Dr. Laporta at Trauma Conference International 2016

Posted August 1, 2016

Dr. Anthony Laporta addresses an audience at TraumaCon 2016 (simulcast internationally as well), when he was interrupted with a phone call about an active shooter event at Strategic Operations.

Strategic Operations Supporting the International Special Operations Forces Week

Posted May 31, 2016

On May 25th, 2016 U.S. and International SOF conducted a combined, tactical, scenario-driven demonstration as part of International Special Operations Forces Week and the Special Operations Forces Industrial Conference (SOFIC).

‘Cut suits’ Give a Slice of Realism to Training

Posted May 25, 2016 ( Original article: May 24, 2016)

By Gary Warth - The San Diego Union Tribune

Image: Kevin Slink simulates traumatic injury in a new “cut suit” while being treated by Ian Jang in a demonstration at Palomar College.(Charlie Neuman)

Escondido — “I got a guy with a GSW to the chest and an open fracture GSW to the left leg,” the medic yelled as he knelt over a “gunshot victim” at Palomar College’s Escondido Education Center on Tuesday morning.

“He’s got smoke inhalation burns, so I’m going to do have to do a trach on him,” he continued, quickly shifting to address his play-acting patient. “Don’t talk, all right? If you get any pain, just tap me. We’re going to put a tube down into you, OK? It’s going to help you breathe.”

The tracheotomy procedure and treatment of the GSWs — gunshot wounds — were simulated, but still a bit difficult to watch for the squeamish.

The “victim” was wearing a newly acquired $37,000 “cut suit” purchased with a grant from the county Board of Supervisors. It feels like flesh, bleeds realistic-looking fake blood when punctured, has internal organs and gives students a more authentic experience when training to treat victims in emergency situations.

The college will use the suit in its emergency medical education department, which offers a Tactical Combat Casualty Care course and a Law Enforcement First Responder course.

The courses were developed by the military and have been adapted to address similar high-threat responses such as SWAT operations, active school shooters, barricaded subjects and wounded officers.

The overall county grant was $71,000, and the remainder will be used to help pay for two baby manikins that also will be used in emergency training at the school.

Pete Ordille, a faculty member with the emergency medical education department, said hyper-realistic training is needed in an era of active shooters, riots, bombings and other violent incidents.

National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians issued a directive in 2013 calling for more qualified training sites to teach programs based in military medicines, Ordille said.

The American College of Surgeons also has called for better emergency training, and in 2008 it launched a Trauma Quality Improvement Program. The National Trauma Institute estimates that traumatic injuries kill about 190,000 Americans per year and account for about 2.3 million hospitalizations.

San Diego-based Strategic Operations, a company known for conducting realistic battlefield simulations for the military, created the cut suits.

“It allows a first-responder to perform real procedures on a live human, which is different from a manikin,” Ordille said.

The 20-pound suit allows a first-responder to practice several procedures, such as hemorrhage control with a tourniquet or clamps and a surgical cricothyroidotomy to clear breathing.

The demonstration Tuesday included a gory procedure on a bullet wound, complete with a flowing stream of blood, and a procedure called a thoracentesis, which involves inserting a long needle into the chest to remove fluid.

The actor wearing the suit screamed and squirmed at times as the man working on him try to calm him and keep him alert.

“Keep talking to me, Eric,” he said to the patient. “Keep talking to me. You’re doing good, buddy.”

The suits also have been used to train medical students in trauma care. Last year, about 100 doctors, students and emergency personnel from out of town trained with the suits at the back lot of Stu Segall Productions studio in Kearny Mesa.

San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts, who attended the demonstration in Escondido on Tuesday, said the training by Palomar College will pay off in helping the region become better prepared for emergencies.

“At the County of San Diego, we consider this an investment in public safety and emergency care for the entire region,” he said.

As an added plus, buying the suit from Strategic Operations helps support a local company, he said.

“When I heard they were actually manufactured by a local company, I said, ‘Bingo, this is the perfect recommendation for the Board of Supervisors,’” he said.

"Cut Suit" Makes Drill Frighteningly Realistic

Posted May 25, 2016

Mannequins are often used for training in disaster preparedness drills, but Palomar College has acquired an advanced piece of equipment that creates an extremely realistic simulation of great bodily injuries. CBS News 8’s Shawn Styles has the details in this video report.

Watch the video on CBS8 Website

Local Restaurant Featured in Iconic Movie to Celebrate the 30th Anniversary - Kit Lavell Interview

Posted May 12, 2016

A classic 1980s movie that featured scenes filmed inside a San Diego restaurant is turning 30 next week and anniversary celebrations have already kicked off. “Top Gun” was released on May 16, 1986, featuring Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis in leading roles.

Movies such as "Top Gun" has resulted in increased interest of military service. Strategic Operations' Kit Lavell talks about the influence of Hollywood on the military.

Watch the video on NBC7 Website

Strategic Operations Hosts Active Shooter Drills

Posted May 10, 2016 ( Original CBS8 Report - May 9, 2016)

Members of San Diego’s medical community are now better prepared to respond to active shooter and other trauma casualties, after a unique training.

Medical students, along with ER residents and staff from Balboa Naval Hospital and UC San Diego Medical Center participated in a series of life or death scenarios involving active shooters, overturned cars and IED’s last week. They performed hyper-realistic drills with real firefighters, paramedics and police at Strategic Operations on the back lot of Stu Segall Productions, which is a TV and movie studio in San Diego.

“There’s not a lot of opportunities to practice live active shooter scenarios in a very realistic setting,” said Kit Lavell with Strategic Operations. “You make your mistakes in the training environment here that’s hyper-realistic, so your first experience in the real world should be no worse than in the last training you did in a hyper-realistic environment. That’s what saves lives.”

Journal of Emergency Medical Services - Time is Blood

Posted April 11, 2016 (April 2016 Issue)

In the April 2016 issue of the Journal of Emergency Medical Services, A.J. Heightman, MPS, EMT-P, shares his knowledge and experience with training civilian emergency responders to save lives.

Read Article (PDF Download)

San Diego Business Journal - Preparing for the Unpredictable

Posted March 28, 2016 (originally published March 21, 2016)

Brittany Meiling covers the IMSH training event from January 2016.

Read the Story (PDF)

IMSH Daily - Hyper-Realistic Saturday Workshop

Posted January 19, 2016

The International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) is a scientific conference that explores the latest innovations and best practices in healthcare simulation. IMSH provides the tools and resources healthcare professionals need to advance their skills, impact change in delivery systems and practice, and, ultimately, to improve patient safety.

Strategic Operations was featured in the Monday, January 18, 2016 Edition of IMSH Daily.

Read the Article (PDF)

San Diego Business Journal – Co. Adds Civilian Training to Its Simulated Scenario Offerings

Posted October 19, 2015 (originally published October 19, 2015)

Brittany Meiling provides an overview of civilian Hyper-Realistic® training at Strategic Operations.

Read the Story (PDF)

Military Training Technology Magazine - Industry Interview

Posted October 13, 2015

Kit Lavell, Vice President of Strategic Operations Inc., answers questions about the latest in military training technology.

Read Article (PDF)

CAE and Strategic Operations - Trade Press Release

Posted September 18, 2015

CAE Healthcare announces exclusive distributor agreement with Strategic Operations for medical simulation trauma surgical suits

Montreal, Canada, September 18, 2015 – CAE Healthcare announced today that it has signed an exclusive rights agreement to distribute the Strategic Operations (STOPS) Surgical Cut Suit and other simulation training products in all parts of the world outside the United States. Designed for point-of-injury care, the Surgical Cut Suit allows first responders and physicians to practice performing surgical and emergency procedures on patients with simulated traumatic, life-threatening injuries.

Based in San Diego, USA, STOPS simulates medical response field scenarios through the “magic of Hollywood,” with hyper-realistic training environments that include special effects, role players and simulated wounds. STOPS has developed a line of medical products that can be worn by actors or Standardized Patients (SPs) to allow real-time interaction with a trauma patient. The Surgical Cut Suit and Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC)/EMS Cut Suit vest can also be zipped around a manikin to add realism to a scenario.

“Strategic Operations has created a spectacular line of simulation products that complement our portfolio and can be used in conjunction with Standardized Patients and our patient simulators to add versatility to trauma training scenarios,” said Dr. Robert Amyot, President of CAE Healthcare. “Like CAE Healthcare, Strategic Operations has employed subject matter and clinical experts to create training tools for emergency medical scenarios that are common but impossible to practice on live patients with the shared goal of saving more lives.”

“We are pleased to be part of the CAE Healthcare extensive portfolio of training solutions,” STOPS Executive Vice President Kit Lavell said. “Our products are very complementary and I believe the market will respond enthusiastically to this new synergy.”

The TCCC/EMS Cut Suit was developed for treating the three primary causes of death on the battlefield: hemorrhage, airway compromise and tension pneumothorax. The Surgical Cut Suit allows practice on a patient with severe internal bleeding or organ damage from point-of-injury through transport and surgical intervention. STOPS recently garnered media attention when the Cut Suit was used in a gravity-free environment in the skies above Ottawa, Canada to simulate damage control surgery in the ultimate austere environment – space. ( and

“The Surgical Cut Suit is part of a unique educational curriculum that Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Colorado developed with our help,” said STOPS President Stu Segall. Besides pathologies, Surgical Cut Suit procedures include hemorrhage control by tourniquet or by suturing and stapling of internal organs, arterial ligation or clamping, surgical cricothyrotomy, needle thoracentesis and suturing of internal organs and skin and peripheral IV access. Both suits can be customized based on the scenario and are repairable for multiple uses.

STOPS has also created a blood pumping system that can be controlled remotely, blast trousers for treatment of severe bleeding injuries that are above the knee and above tourniquet placement and also a 6-in-1 TCCC trainer, an upper torso that provides training for multiple procedures to clear airways and restore breathing.

CAE Healthcare and Strategic Operations will demonstrate the products at upcoming military and civilian medical conferences and at the International Meeting for Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) in San Diego in January of 2016.

About Strategic Operations

Strategic Operations Inc., on the lot of Stu Segall Productions, a full-service TV / movie studio in San Diego, Calif., provides “Hyper-Realistic®” training services and products for military, law enforcement and other organizations responsible for homeland security. The company employs state-of-the-art Hollywood battlefield special effects, combat wound effects, medical simulation systems like the “Cut Suit,” role players, subject matter experts, and training scenarios to create training environments that are the most unique in the industry. Over the last 13 years Strategic Operations has provided Hyper-Realistic® training support to more than 750,000 military, law enforcement, and civilian first responders. STOPS Tactical Training Canada LLC, a subsidiary of Strategic Operations, has headquarters in Alberta, Canada. For more information, visit

Follow us on Twitter @StrategicOps.

About CAE Healthcare

CAE Healthcare offers cutting-edge learning tools to healthcare students and professionals, allowing them to develop practical experience through risk-free simulation training before treating real patients. CAE Healthcare’s full spectrum of simulation solutions includes surgical and imaging simulation, curriculum, the LearningSpace audiovisual and center management platform and highly realistic adult, pediatric and baby patient simulators. Today, approximately 9,000 CAE Healthcare simulators and audiovisual solutions are in use worldwide by medical schools, nursing schools, hospitals, defence forces and other entities.

About CAE

CAE (NYSE: CAE; TSX: CAE) is a global leader in the delivery of training for the civil aviation, defence and security, and healthcare markets. We design and integrate the industry’s most comprehensive training solutions, anchored by the knowledge and expertise of our 8,000 employees, our world-leading simulation technologies and a track record of service and technology innovation spanning seven decades. Our global presence is the broadest in the industry, with 160 sites and training locations in 35 countries, including our joint venture operations, and the world’s largest installed base of flight simulators. Each year, we train more than 120,000 civil and defence crewmembers, as well as thousands of healthcare professionals.

Follow us on Twitter @CAE_Inc

Pour la presse spécialisée

CAE Santé annonce un accord de distribution exclusive avec Strategic Operations pour des combinaisons de simulation en traumatologie (Cut Suit)

Montréal (Canada), le 18 septembre 2015 – CAE Santé a annoncé aujourd’hui qu’elle a signé un accord exclusif avec l’entreprise Strategic Operations pour distribuer leurs combinaisons de simulation en traumatologie (Cut Suit) et d’autres produits de simulation destinés à la formation, et ce, à l’échelle mondiale, à l’exception des États-Unis. Conçue pour simuler les soins sur les lieux d’un accident, la combinaison de simulation chirurgicale en traumatologie (Surgical Cut Suit) permet aux premiers intervenants et aux médecins de s’exercer aux procédures d’urgence médicales et chirurgicales sur des patients avec des lésions traumatiques et blessures sévères simulées.

Strategic Operations, une entreprise de San Diego (États-Unis), simule des scénarios d’intervention médicale sur les lieux d’un accident en faisant appel à la magie d’Hollywood » avec des environnements de formation ultra-réalistes comprenant des effets spéciaux, des acteurs et des blessures simulées. Strategic Operations a mis au point une gamme de produits de simulation médicale que des acteurs ou des patients simulés peuvent porter pour permettre une simulation interactive en temps réel avec des patients simulés victimes de traumatismes. Les combinaisons de simulation chirurgicale en traumatologie (Surgical Cut Suit) et de simulation en secourisme en situation de combat (Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC)/EMS Cut Suit) peuvent également être mises sur un mannequin pour augmenter le réalisme d’un scénario.

Strategic Operations a créé une remarquable gamme de produits de simulation qui s’ajoute à notre catalogue et que nous pouvons utiliser de concert avec des patients simulés et nos simulateurs de patients afin de diversifier les scénarios de formation en traumatologie, a déclaré le Dr Robert Amyot, président de CAE Santé. Comme CAE Santé, Strategic Operations a fait appel à des leaders d’opinion et des experts cliniques pour mettre au point des outils de formation pour des scénarios de soins médicaux d’urgence qui sont courants, mais pour lesquels il est impossible de s’exercer sur de vrais patients, dans le but commun de sauver plus de vies

Nous sommes ravis de faire partie de la vaste gamme de solutions de formation de CAE Santé, a affirmé Kit Lavell, vice-président exécutif de Strategic Operations. Nos produits sont très complémentaires et je crois que cette synergie sera accueillie favorablement par le marché.

Les combinaisons de simulation chirurgicale en traumatologie (Surgical Cut Suit) et de simulation en secourisme en situation de combat (Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC)/EMS Cut Suit) ont été mises au point pour traiter les trois principales causes de décès sur les champs de bataille : hémorragie, obstruction des voies respiratoires et pneumothorax sous tension. Les combinaisons de simulation chirurgicale en traumatologie permettent de s’exercer sur un patient simulé atteint d’une grave hémorragie interne ou de sévères lésions d’organes, des lieux d’un accident jusqu’au transport du patient, en passant par l’intervention chirurgicale. Strategic Operations a récemment attiré l’attention des médias lorsque sa combinaison de simulation a été utilisée en état d’apesanteur dans le ciel d’Ottawa (Canada) dans le but de simuler une intervention chirurgicale de sauvetage dans l’environnement le plus hostile : l’espace. (articles en anglais : et

La combinaison de simulation chirurgicale en traumatologie (Surgical Cut Suit) fait partie d’un programme de formation unique offert à l’école d’ostéopathie de la Rocky Vista University, au Colorado, et mis au point avec notre aide, a ajouté Stu Segall, président de Strategic Operations. En plus des pathologies, la combinaison de simulation chirurgicale en traumatologie permet de simuler diverses procédures : maîtrise d’une hémorragie à l’aide d’un garrot ou en suturant ou agrafant des organes internes, ligature artérielle ou clampage artériel, cricothyrotomie, thoracentèse par trocart, suture d’organes internes et de la peau ainsi que l’établissement d’un accès veineux périphérique. Les deux combinaisons sont personnalisables selon le scénario voulu et peuvent être réparées en vue d’utilisations ultérieures.

Strategic Operations a également mis au point un système de pompe pour du sang simulé que l’on peut commander à distance, des combinaisons de simulation de lésion secondaires à une explosion pour simuler le traitement d’hémorragies graves au-dessus du genou et au-dessus d’un garrot, un outil de formation en secourisme en situation de combat 6 en 1, ainsi qu’un torse simulé servant à offrir des formations sur diverses procédures visant à dégager les voies respiratoires et à rétablir la respiration.

CAE Santé et Strategic Operations feront une démonstration de ces produits à des conférences en médecines civiles et militaires à venir et à l’International Meeting for Simulation in Healthcare (réunion annuelle sur la simulation en soins de santé) qui aura lieu à San Diego en janvier 2016.

À propos de Strategic Operations

Strategic Operations Inc, dans le giron de Stu Segall Productions, un studio cinématographique complet basé à San Diego (Californie), offre des services et des produits de formation ultra-réalistes (Hyper-RealisticMC) aux organismes militaires, aux organismes responsables de l’application des lois et aux autres organismes responsables de la sécurité intérieure. L’entreprise fait appel à des effets spéciaux cinématographiques pour simuler des situations de combat et des blessures de combat, des acteurs, des leaders d’opinion, des scénarios de formation et des systèmes de simulation médicale tels que la combinaison de simulation en traumatologie (Cut Suit) dans le but de créer les environnements de formation les plus uniques de l’industrie. Au cours des 13 dernières années, Strategic Operations a offert des services de formation ultra-réalistes à plus de 750 000 premiers intervenants d’organismes civils, militaires et organismes responsables de l’application des lois. STOPS Tactical Training Canada LLC, une filiale de Strategic Operations, a son siège social en Alberta, au Canada. Pour de plus amples renseignements, visitez le .

Suivez-nous sur Twitter à @StrategicOps

À propos de CAE Santé

CAE Santé fournit des outils d’apprentissage de pointe aux étudiants et aux professionnels de la santé, ce qui leur permet de s’exercer sans risque à l’aide d’une plateforme de simulation avant de mettre en application leurs aptitudes sur de réels patients. La gamme complète de solutions de simulation de CAE Santé inclut la simulation chirurgicale et la simulation de l’échographie, les programmes, la plateforme audiovisuelle de gestion de centres LearningSpace et les simulateurs de patients (nourrisson, enfant et adulte) hautement réalistes. À l’heure actuelle, près de 9 000 simulateurs et solutions audiovisuelles de CAE Santé sont utilisés dans le monde par des écoles de médecine, des écoles de soins infirmiers, des hôpitaux, des forces de défense et d’autres entités.

À propos de CAE

CAE (NYSE : CAE; TSX : CAE) est un chef de file mondial en prestation de formation dans les domaines de l’aviation civile, de la défense et sécurité, et des soins de santé. Nous concevons et intégrons les solutions de formation les plus complètes de l’industrie, grâce aux connaissances et au savoir-faire de nos 8 000 employés, de nos technologies de simulation de renommée mondiale et de notre réputation en matière de service et d’innovation technologique s’échelonnant sur sept décennies. Notre présence mondiale est la plus vaste de l’industrie, avec 160 établissements et centres de formation situés dans 35 pays, y compris les activités de nos coentreprises, et le plus important parc de simulateurs de vol au monde. Chaque année, nous formons plus de 120 000 membres d’équipage civils et militaires, ainsi que des milliers de professionnels de la santé.

Suivez-nous sur Twitter à @CAE_Inc

Military Training Technology Magazine - Training for the Urban Terrain

Posted July 15, 2015

"With the future military operations expected to occur in the world's burgeoning cities, military trainers and their industry partners are stepping up efforts to develop effective technology and formats for military operations in urban terrain (MOUT) training."

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