The Power of Preparedness for Safer Schools

Written by
Helen Hall
Published on
June 5, 2023

Since exhibiting at the NFPA Conference in 2022, Locatrix has been investigating its best fit into the US Market.  Thanks to the advocacy of Eric Sutton, Andreas Deakin and the team at Locatrix have made some fascinating introductions. 

One of those has been BeSafe Technologies.

Specializing in School safety, BeSafe works to share critical building information between school administrators, emergency services and facilities management, assisting in providing the situational awareness our Heroes need, in order to keep our most vulnerable safe in the case of an emergency. 
Mike O'Keefe

Appointed as CEO of BeSafe in 2021, Mike O’Keefe began his career serving as a Quality Assurance Collateral Duty inspector for Marine Corp Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462. After years of honorable service in the U.S. Armed Forces and multiple overseas deployments, Mike joined BeSafe in 2006 as a Field Representative. With well over a decade of specializing in Project Management, on-site inspections, CAD design/QA, product implementation and client support, his efforts have been instrumental in the development and growth of BeSafe.

Visit the BeSafe website

Eric reflects on why he made the introduction:

When I came across BeSafe I did not hesitate to reach out.  A key component of its school safety offering is mapping schools so that security personnel, administrators and first responders have spatial awareness of emergency events and can provide better emergency training for staff and students.  Several states already require schools to have accurate digital copies of their site plans and floor plans.  Locatrix’s drafting software unlocks the value of digital floor plans at scale and enables the teams that use it to get more done.  And, in the case of BeSafe, protect more children”.   

Mike recalls:

“When I first saw PlanStudio demonstrated by Andreas, my immediate thought was wow, the ease of use of this tool is incredible!  Previously, we had been limited to the old methods in drafting such as CAD, then going to the site, doing our best to orient ourselves to plans, understanding just where changes had been made, then making the notes to come back and implement those changes on our desktops"
"With PlanStudio, the magic really happened when Andreas and I did a walk through on site and made the changes to a plan right there and then, that was the “uh-huh” moment that really knocked my socks off!  Every floor plans change required is all editable directly from the iPad, within PlanStudio, as you identify them!”

BeSafe has been collecting and providing necessary building information for its clients since 1999 and according to Mike, PlanStudio is the change that they have always been hoping for.

“What I value most about PlanStudio is how it sets the standard of how a plan is drawn and maintained.  Past methodology has always been missing this, never providing the consistency which is so critical when you are charged with the responsibility of collecting data that will ultimately be used to manage an emergency situation.  I think it’s easy to underestimate just how important it is to get this stuff right and with PlanStudio’s simplicity and efficiency, we can provide exactly this and in a turnaround time nothing on the market can beat!”

Mike works closely with and is in regular contact with emergency services personnel. He has demonstrated to Dan Perenick, a retired police Sergeant, School Resource Officer and BeSafe Public Safety Liaison on how BeSafe now captures building data with PlanStudio.

“I was surprised at how quickly I became proficient on drafting and marking up plans on the go, displaying my new skills to Dan, in his amazement; he  stated “I can’t believe what I’m seeing!”

But it isn’t just for planning for emergencies where Mike sees PlanStudio being a game changer.  Also servicing industries such as Transport, Houses of Worship and Medical Facilities, Mike can see endless possibilities in using PlanStudio and PlanSafe to provide occupant training, assisting in event planning and recording and managing building maintenance. 

PlanStudio and PlanSafe, although new to the US market, have had plenty of experience in these fields before.  In Australia PlanStudio has mapped over 50 schools, numerous universities and has some of Australia’s largest hospitals, aged care and healthcare services mapped.  Since its launch in 2019, Locatrix’s PlanStudio has captured over 70,000,000 sqm of data which it makes available to the Australian Emergency Services free as part of its social promise to keep people safe.

Wesley Mission Case Study

BeSafe and Locatrix now have a clear path of opportunity which will be built on, and with a shared purpose of keeping people safe, it’s exciting to see where it will end up and how providing current, relevant, and accurate building information will make a positive difference in keeping people safe.

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