Updated: Feb 23
Lee Johnson (AFSM) joined QFES in 1975 as a firefighter. His drive and passion for serving and protecting the community shone throughout his career, working his way up the ranks to Commissioner – a position he held for approximately 13 years. Today he enjoys a slower pace as a retiree and he is always looking for ways to give back to the service and to the community where he can.
Two years ago, I accepted an invitation to join the Advisory Board of Locatrix. John Hummelstad, the CEO, had received a federal grant to build a piece of software that I had only dreamt about when I was in the service. It was called the Emergency Services Platform (ESP). Locatrix had two other amazing products PlanStudio and PlanSafe. The first, PlanStudio, an application that automated the creation of indoor floor plans and the second PlanSafe an online software training system that provided first attack and emergency response training to occupants of a building. PlanSafe and PlanStudio act as input tools for the ESP where all the data on a built environment and compliance training from the emergency evacuation plan can be seen and even interacted with by a first responder.
It was something I’d only ever seen in movies and as a professional in the field I knew didn’t really exist. But here and now and in reality Locatrix had found the know-how and the business model to make this happen, the science fiction is now a reality and even better, Locatrix has the recipe to keep it current.
It was easy to be a believer in this purpose and encouraging to see other emergency service veterans Alan Clarke APM (Retired NSW Assistant Police Commissioner) and Graeme Thom AFSM (Retired QFES Senior Officer) take note and work alongside by me in raising awareness to this game changer.
In many incidences where disaster has occurred it has been the lack of a building plan and missing information that have left rescue crews having to improvise and risk their own lives in order to get the best outcomes in impossible situations. By having access to a building’s critical building information, awareness of hazards and to easily retrieve numbers of occupants the probability of saving more lives becomes higher, particularly when first responders can better understand the vulnerability of occupants. Being able to then assess what assistance is required in order to resource a rescue mission, particularly in an aged care facility where there are varying degrees of how ambulant and aware the residents are. For instance, where Dementia care wards are located and how they are managed is important for first responders to know in particular, to understand the methods of compliance and training processes that staff are competent in will always make the difference in executing a better plan. PlanSafe captures this information and by sharing this information with first responders, increases the probability of a successful rescue mission.
I’m pleased to report that the vast majority of the fire industry are now using PlanStudio to create evacuation diagrams and that data is stored securely in the ESP. It would be good to see more facilities using PlanSafe in order to better enable compliance for staff and cross reference that with the brigade to keep them informed. Being a part of Locatrix in making this difference to saving more lives – including the lives of first responders, makes me feel like I am still contributing to something I am very proud of.