April Feature Story - Survival Systems USA, Inc.
The Skill To Survive: Survival Systems USA Provides The Ultimate High-Tech Training To Prepare For Real-World Dangers
Survival Systems USA, Inc. is an employee owned company in Groton, Connecticut dedicated to safety and survival education. The family of companies was established in the1980s in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia after Canadian pilot and founder Albert Bohemier survived a plane crash.He credited his survival to the training he received while in the military.
One aspect of the company’s mission is manifested in post-incident survival training—whether it’s an aircraft ditching event, a vessel abandonment situation, or an accident involving a submerged motor vehicle, the programs are designed to teach the skills needed to perform surface abandonment, underwater egress, and survival in an inhospitable environment (both land and sea) with limited resources until rescue.
“Albert developed training for the oil and gas industry and Canadian military that was specific to underwater egress, surface survival, and related areas. Training was his passion. That’s where the company got its start. And where the company mission of ‘enhancing and preserving workers’ lives through safety education, training technologies, and applied research and development’ truly began. His initial focus was two-fold: 1) training and the equipment that you need to use to accomplish that training and 2) shortly thereafter, what R&D was needed to develop the equipment that you would use in training and in real emergencies,” said Maria C. Hanna, president of Survival Systems USA, Inc. In 2008, Hanna purchased Survival Systems USA from Bohemier and soon after began the conversion to an employee owned company.
Students inside the liferaft during surface water survival. Photo credit: Survival Systems USA, Inc.
Survival Systems USA provides high-tech incremental training combined with adult learning principles to meet the learning objectives of the courses.Experienced staff members work with each student to ensure success. Multiple civilian and military courses are conducted on a rolling basis, catering to the transportation industry—with a focus on aviation, maritime, and ground transport training.
The crown jewel of the facility is the Modular Egress Training Simulator (METS<sup>®</sup>), manufactured by Survival Systems Limited in Canada. The METS<sup>®</sup> can be configured to replicate multiple aviation, maritime, and ground transport platforms.Configurations for each course are determined by the student population, allowing for an unprecedented level of fidelity in training.
Student preparing for Shallow Water Egress Trainer (SWET) to be inverted. Photo credit: Survival Systems USA, Inc.
“Course content may be driven by requirements, but all of our training programs have one goal in mind—to give our students the confidence and skills to survive when they are faced with an emergency out there on their own.” – Maria C. Hanna, president of Survival Systems USA, Inc.
Students preparing for group formation and group movement as part of surface water survival. Photo credit: Survival Systems USA, Inc.
Facilities at Survival Systems USA include Modular Egress Training Simulator and full environmental suite of equipment— allowing the “perfect storm” indoors for training. Photo credit: Survival Systems USA, Inc.
For aircraft that are unusual in their configuration, such as the AH-64 or the AH-1, the company also offers the Apache METS<sup>®</sup>, a unique simulator that replicates the tandem seating configuration for those aircraft.
Combined with the XGH<sup>™</sup> handling system, the facility provides a safe training environment for clients. The XGH<sup>™</sup> is a cross-gantry hoisting system that features dual lifting mechanisms, integrated METS<sup>™</sup> remote air brake system, user settable variable ditching speeds, advanced ditching monitoring, and effects sequencing and control as well as a pneumatically operated redundant retraction system (RRS) to mitigate the risk of power failure during critical (submerged) periods of the underwater escape training.
Notably, the facility is home to a state-of-the art Survival Training Simulation Theater (STST<sup>™</sup>) that provides real-world egress training by expanding the METS<sup>®</sup> and XGH<sup>™</sup> systems to integrate environmental training aids such as wind, waves, rescue hoist systems, and other environmental variables.
To date, Survival Systems USA, Inc. has trained over 140,000 individuals with a completion rate in excess of 99%. The trainees come from diverse industries, experiences, and backgrounds, and the company has a broad array of product offerings, including the capability to customize not only their simulators but their course content to meet specific client requirements.
Within the last year, the company has expanded its offerings to include “survival experiences” for those who aren’t in the aviation, maritime, or ground transport communities, but who want to develop their own leadership skills or those of their team.”