Increasing security in public places serves as an attempt to establish control of a somewhat chaotic environment. A shopping mall does certainly present a great deal of order. Specific doorways provide entrances and exits. The various stores in the mall have been placed orderly in their locations. The people who visit malls rarely reflect any sort of threat. Many of those shoppers are just small children accompanied by their parents. Still, a shopping mall can become a dangerous place. The chaotic component never really disappears. For this reason alone, a venue would benefit from a critical incident notification system in place.
Controlled Chaos in a Mall
Doors can only keep people out when locked. When the doors to a mall allow access to the public, multitudes of people enter. The possibility exists one person may intend to do great harm to others in the mall. Even with the best security personnel keeping a watchful eye on suspicious behavior, a truly dangerous person can slip into a mall and do so easily.
Not all threats to shoppers in the mall comes from the proverbial human animal. Fire hazards may exist. After all, electrical and gas lines run through several areas of the mall. A food court likely presents many fire hazards. Yet, few automatically think a foot court security system should be in place to monitor errant fire hazards. Yet, a basic sprinkler system might not be sufficient enough to address an unexpected emergency.
Connecting with Law Enforcement
A critical incident notification system may not be able to prevent something from happening but could assist with an effective response to the situation. Often, an effective response means the difference between the best case and the worst-case scenario outcome. Two things should be considered when weighing options to employ a notification system:
- No Contact with the Dispatcher
Critical incident notifications send messages directly to law enforcement and first responders which, in turn, allows them to depart to the scene. Calling on the telephone adds steps to the response process since the caller must speak with a dispatcher. The dispatcher must then contact and relay information to a response team. The clock keeps ticking.
- Reduction in Possible Confusion
Any discussion with a dispatcher may suffer the fate of human error. The person reporting the emergency could be misunderstood or the dispatcher may convey incorrect information. Such things do happen because of the panic the person placing the call. Even professionals may be prone to panic-induced errors.
While no notification system can be referred to as perfect, the messaging system removes a panicked call to a dispatcher. This could potentially decrease errors and lead to the best possible response.
The Automation System
Sending messages to emergency personnel is not the only duty a critical incident notification system may perform. The system may take control of doors, locks, cameras, and public-address systems. With the right notification system in place, a shopping mall or other public place could gain a dramatic and beneficial increase in safety.