After an evacuation, the biggest challenge can be notifying everyone to re-occupy the property. The longer it takes to re-occupy, the greater the revenue-loss, not to mention customer and tenant dissatisfaction. This is what really happens.........
You evacuate: It’s rainy, cold and miserable. Your tenants are already upset because they’ve had to evacuate. Their Key-Holder has met your Fire-Marshall at the Assembly Point and wants to know “How long before we can go back in?” You don’t know yet!
- The tenants pop off for a coffee, some go shopping, some nip off to the bank.
- They should really stay at the Assembly Point, but it’s cold and wet.
- The Fire Brigade is checking the building – more people drift away from the assembly point.
- Eventually, the ‘All-Clear’ is given and the Fire-Marshall can tell people to re-occupy.
But lots of them are not there, so, they don't hear your loud hailer and don't know they can re-open their units.
- The Centre Management Team go back to the office to figure out who is back in and who is not.
- They start to phone the missing tenants, using that spread sheet of key holders numbers.
- It takes some time and while you’re on the phone - the tenants want an explanation – more time!
- And then there are the ones whose phones are engaged! - call back!!!!
- Now, you need to log the calls you made.
- Later, one tenant complains, “No one called me! I lost an hours trade!
With multiple assembly point Shopping Centres, the problem is compounded.
- You can log on to your account using any internet enabled device, wherever you are.
Send a message to every Key-Holder, all at the same time with a re-occupation message, situation updates or any other message.
- Unlike telephone calls, text messages queue if a phone is engaged, and will get through.
- All Key-Holders (and your own team) can be notified so....
- If the boss is on a day off, on a beach, on a train, they will know there is a situation at their store.
- The message can be sent from pre-set templates or a bespoke message drafted in real time
- All broadcasts are logged and can be printed as a management report.
If you choose a Tablet Solution you can communicate from anywhere with a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. Failing that, you can use your Desktop PC, Laptop, Smartphone, Backup Location PC; in fact anywhere with access to the Internet.
True Story Scenario:
The Police arrive and tell you they have received a Bomb-Threat call. A blue suitcase has been placed next to the high-level glazed atrium on the rooftop car park. A quick CCTV scan confirms it’s there
The police want you to activate the alarm and evacuate. You know that people will have to pass under the glazed atrium to evacuate. You know that flying glass causes most deaths and injuries from bombs; what do you do?
- You could evacuate under the atrium and hope no one dies
- Or, get your team to phone affected tenants and ask them to leave via the back door, if there is one
Time ...tick-tock, 20 minutes pass
- Or, you could use that system they have at the checkout, but, it’s a really busy day and the trainee on the till isn’t sure what to do!
- You send Security staff to barrier-off the affected area so that people outside the atrium area don't walk under it
- The tenants and public in that area are instructed to silently evacuate by Guards and your Management Team
- Still no alarm until your sure no one can evacuate under the atrium
- You will risk the Security team’s lives for 20 minutes while you call everyone!!!!
When the affected area is clear, you press the bells and evacuate.
- You log-on and send an instant message to:
- All Key-Holders, (even the ones who are at home!!), your Management Team, Head Office and, well, anyone else in your Database:
“Bomb-Threat. Silently Evacuate avoiding the Glazed Atrium. Do not pass under the Glass Roof - Go to your Assembly-Points - advise customers as you go”
- Time passed...1 minute
- Your Security team have more time to barrier the area before you activate the alarm
- Less lives are risked due to immediate and clear instructions
- No long explanations to Tenant's by Guards
- You go to Control Room, Back Up location or Assembly-Point and send update messages as the situation develops
- You can tell all or some to, “Go home” “ Re-occupy” “Avoid Assembly Point B” or any other message.”
- Messages are logged automatically, so, you have a permanent record of what you instructed and to whom
You can demonstrate that you had a Duty-of-Care system in place
You have tried to mitigate the risk
True Story Scenario: It’s 4pm. Winter. Cold. Dark.
The grid in your area fails. All power goes off. Your generator kicks-in but it hasn’t been tested at load for ages so produces no power. You don’t have a UPS. The phones go down, CCTV is off, and the radio system won’t work!
Emergency lighting kicks-in, but that’s all you have and it will discharge after 3 hrs.
What do you do?!!!
- You have no choice, you must evacuate, but somehow, you need to communicate
- You send your receptionist to find Security Staff and assemble them at the Control Room.
- The whole team arrives, you breakout the torches...(if you have them)...
- You brief them and send them to the Mall to talk to tenants and instruct them to evacuate.
Time ticks away.
- While they’re at it, the Guards try to ask the public to leave.
- While they are diverted, an old lady falls, and a teenager is mugged.
- You finally evacuate!
But what now?
- Your Fire-Marshall(s) is at the Assembly-Point(s) but you have no radio/comms.
- You call his mobile, but everyone is on their phone, and the network jams.
- So, you go there yourself – TIME!
- Then you go to Assembly B, C, D, wherever!!.
- The Fire-Officer / Police, look for you at Assembly A, but you’re at Assembly B, and can’t be radioed or phoned.
- Power returns – you go back to your office and start calling tenants to re-occupy.
- You take out your 3G-enabled Tablet (which is always kept charged), log-on and send message to all…
”There has been a major power failure. Evacuate to your usual Assembly-Point. Please assist the public as you pass.”
- Then you go to the Assembly-Point and use your CenCom Tablet to communicate with management, security team, tenants and head office by text.
- When the power is back on, you send a re-occupy message to all those involved.
- You send further messages of explanation so you don’t need to spend the day on the telephone.
- You then print your log and write up your report
Situation: A Bomb-Threat is received:
Using your pro-forma aide memoire, you assess the risk and don’t want to evacuate, but you do need to perform a search-routine.
If you have a comms system in each store, you will use that. Hopefully the person on the till will get the message and act on it. If you don’t, you send your security teams to every store, probably in zones and instruct on the search.
Eventually tenants look for a guard to communicate with. The guard is in another store though, so it takes time. Some tenants call the Management Office and you look for some paper and pens to log the calls. Some contact the Control Room, who log the call. Some call a Guard who radios it in.
After a while, you have a lot of responses but you still need to call the tenants who didn’t respond. All this time the risk is mounting! Eventually too much time has passed, so you evacuate as a precaution.
- You log-on wherever you are and send a message,
“A bomb-threat has been received – conduct a search – if anything suspicious, call us on xxxxxxx or find a security guard.”
- In this Scenario, you only have communication if something is found.
- You have more time to decide on your next actions.
- All Key-Holders are notified at once.
- Head-office is notified.
- No radio panic.
- You mitigate your risk of evacuation
- You saved time
- You were well informed.
- CenCom gives managers time to manage situations rather than administrate calls.
Situation: It's 3am. A Sprinkler-Head bursts in a Retail Unit.
- Your Control Room calls the Key-Holder – no response
- Your Control Room calls the second Key-Holder – no response
- The Fire Brigade arrive but won’t enter the unit without a Key-Holder
- Security can’t enter either - it's against Assignment Instructions
- So you keep calling the Key-Holder(s)....no response
- The stock is getting ruined
- Eventually, you have no choice and you break in for the Fire Brigade
- Next day the tenant is grateful that you tried to contact them but needs proof for HQ and insurers
- Control logs-on to CenCom
- Control sends a message to all 3 Key-Holders and the Centre Management Team
“There is a Flood Emergency in your unit. Please call us on xxx and attend site immediately!”
- The message is logged, the proof a Tenant will need
- Control continues with manual calls as well.
- No response – more messages.
- Next day the tenant asks for details of when and how you tried to communicate
- You produce your Independent CenCom Report that show your messages audit trail.
True Scenario: It’s 4am. Winter.
The phone rings, it’s the Police. They tell you that there is a threat. The Town Centre is closed off. "Please call all tenants and tell them to stay away until further notice"
- You call your Management Team and ask them to meet at your backup location
- You get dressed and drive to the meeting point
- You breakout your Key-Holder list and call logs and divide up your 3 person team to start calling Key-Holders
- You have 100 units, so you have 300 to call, you hope that you will get the first Key-Holder and they will cascade the message
- But you eventually have to make 150 calls at 2 minutes each call
- All the Key-Holders want an explanation
It’s now 06:30am and the Key-Holders start to call their teams and tell them to stay away – now it’s 07:30am
- You start your calls again to make sure everyone is informed and updated
It’s now 08:30am
- Next, the Police call you and tell you all is OK and the Cente can open
- You start your calls again and tell your Key-Holders “it’s all clear – please come and open your unit.”
- You finish at 09:30am and they finish at 10:30, by about 12noon you get the Centre open
- You lost the morning and you and your team are very tired
- You have difficulty making all the other calls you should make make to tenants, to explain what has happened
- It’s 4am. Winter. The Police call.
- 4:05am you log on to CenCom and send a message to all key-holders, your Management Team, your Head-Office and Security-Triangle.
- You Send a Message like this
“There is an emergency situation, do not go to the Centre. Please let all of your staff know and standby for updates.”
- 04:10am you call your team, and discuss how best to manage the situation.
When a child gets lost in a centre, speed of communication and getting as many people as possible to keep their eyes open is paramount
The frantic parents look for a guard or go to the Information Desk to ask for help. They give a description of the lost child, which is relayed, to the Control Room. They then radio everyone in the Centre who has a radio, pass on the description and notify them to begin a search.
If the Centre has a communication system in each retail store, a message is sent to the checkout, if not, you rely on the radio team
- Control notifies the Police
- If the child isn’t found, Control and the Police start to call other town centre retailers and relay a description of the child, as accurately as can be remembered verbally
- Time passes and the parent's fear escalates – "isn’t there more that you can do, more quickly???"
- Thankfully, after a lot of confusion, the child is found
- You send your security staff around retailers to let then know all is ok
- The information desk staff log onto CenCom and send:
“Lost Child Alert – boy, 5 years, blonde hair, red coat and yellow shoes lost at 2pm. Please conduct a search and let us know if you find him on 12345678”
- The message goes instantly to Security, Cleaners, Tech Staff...
- Town Centre Security Triangle, all Retailers’ Key-Holders and the Centre Management Team
- The search net is instantly widened and more eyes are on the case
- There is no confusion or dilution of the description – everyone gets the same description detail
- You took action much faster than usually possible,
- You demostrated a duty of care by having a system in place
- Thankfully, the child is found much faster