Dave Bullock / eecue

photographer, engineering leader, nerd


USC Medical Training Center

Last year I shot a gallery at USC which covered the use of robots for Iraq combat medic training. As I've mentioned before, I love robots.

Here is the intro I wrote for the Heal a Robot, Go to War gallery on Wired.com:

As of last week, 4,000 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq. While a grim statistic, the number would be much higher without the well-trained medical staff deployed to combat service. Before their tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, many corpsmen, doctors and nurses are trained at specialized facilities with elaborate combat-zone simulations, which include sound effects and realistic robot patients.

The Navy Trauma Training Center, located at the University of Southern California Surgical Skills department, is one of only three training centers in the United States. It is adjacent to the Los Angeles County Hospital, which has the busiest trauma ward in the city, treating about two-dozen gunshot and trauma wounds every day. While this real-world experience is invaluable to enlisted medics, a collection of programmable robots are able to tailor their symptoms and reactions to specific scenarios that doctors will encounter in combat zones.

Here are some of those photos from the gallery. If you want to see them in all their full-resolution glory, click here.

Inside a METI Human Patient Simulator

Dr. DJ Green Holding an IV Bag of Fake B

CyberKnife Radiation Oncology Robot at U

Click here to see the rest of the USC Medical photo gallery.


SAR: Highline Training

Two weeks ago my Search and Rescue team practiced a highly complicated technique known as a highline during our training at Deep Creek. Basically a highline is a rope across a canyon on which a litter and attendant can move both vertically and horizontally.

We started the day by lugging the huge amount of gear a highline requires to our destination. This gear included over a thousand feet of rope, over 50 pounds of hardware, rock protection, webbing, the litter and our personal packs.

This training was different from our usual highline training because one of our teammates was shooting photos on rope. We rigged a separate system for him about 10 feet above the highline so he could get a good angle.

The first part of rigging the highline was getting the rope across the gap. To do this we employed a giant slingshot that we used to launch a little buckshot filled bag. The bag is connected to a high strength kevlar thread. Once this is across we attached it to a heave line which we attached to the thread. We then reeled it back in using fishing pole. That line was then attached to the ropes which we sent back and attached to an anchor.

Once we had the track line rigged we rigged another line through a pulley at the far anchor. Then brought it back to a very large pulley called a kootenay which is where the litter hung from. This line was used to pull the litter out away from the haul team.

Another line was attached to the other side of the kootenay to pull it back towards the haul team. Finally one very long line was connected through the kootenay and down to the litter on a pulley. This line was the reave line and was be used to raise and lower the litter.

As you can probably tell this was a complicated system. It saw strength levels not normally seen in a standard rescue system so certain special features like high-strength tie-offs were used. High strength tie-offs use two prussiks (basically loops or rope wrapped around a larger rope) to increase the strength of anchor point tie ins.

Running the system was also non-trivial as the haul team had to respond to commands other than just up down and stop. They also had to to move the patient and attendant horizontally.

At the end of the day we actually did a great job of rigging everything and got set up in a reasonable amount of time. Especially considering that we also needed to rig a separate system for our photographer.

Kinsey Hanging

Hanging from a highline Mark Kinsey works as a litter attendant during a training session for the San Bernardino Sheriff's Cave Rescue Team

More photos after the jump...


Search and Rescue : Cave and Mine Team Joint Training

This weekend my Search and Rescue Team did a joint training in Calico with the Barstow Mine Rescue team. Here is a video put together by one of our team members, Jeff Lehman:


DLANC CERT Training Session 1 of 3 : This Saturday: September 8th!

The time has come for the first of the three Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council's (DLANC) Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training sessions! The training will begin this Saturday, September 8th, starting at 8:30am and running to 4:30pm at the Los Angeles Theatre, located at 615 S Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles. DLANC is sponsoring the training and is providing delicious lunches from the Corner Bakery.

There is no charge for the training or the meals, the only thing you need to bring is your thinking cap and note-taking supplies.

Please be sure to RSVP to cert@eecue.com with your full name and phone number if you are planning on coming.


TRBC Training

Tomorrow is the start of a 2 weekend course I am taking for Search and Rescue called Technical Rescue Basics Course. I have read through the course material and none of it is new to me, but I am sure I will learn something from the course. I am bringing all 3 duffel bags of my SAR gear with me because there are always call outs during trainings; some sort of strange Murphy's Law deal. This weekend is all classroom time and next weekend is the field training which should be fun.


NCRC Training 2004

The National Cave Rescue Commission was formed in 1979 to train rescuers and track rescues related to caves. It is a component of the National Speleological Society which is a non-profit group of over 50,000 cavers who are dedicated to preserving caves and cave environments. The NCRC does NOT do cave rescues, instead it trains rescuers in the latest cave rescue techniques.

california cavern sign Every year the NCRC sponsors a national week long cave rescue seminar. In 2004 there was also a regional week long (actually 10 day) seminar located at California Cavern in Cave City. Most of the SBCSD Cave Team members attended.

NCRC trains rescuers on 3 levels:

  • Level I - Team Member
  • Level II - Team Leader
  • Level III - Incident Command / Rescue Management

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