Safety and security of a shopping centre consists of many elements, and requires predictability and collaboration. Shopping centre owner Citycon’s core idea is to provide a safe environment for people visiting and working in its shopping centres.
There is a lot of invisible groundwork needed for a safe shopping centre: planning, managing, training. The emphasis in on prevention and anticipation; dealing with issues before anything really happens. Koskikeskus was recently awarded a Safe Shopping Center certificate for all the work done promoting safety and security.
– The certification process was extensive and shows how Koskikeskus has been proactive in safety and security matters. There is, of course, always something that needs improvements, but in general we are already doing very well, says Centre Manager Reeta Thure.
Collaboration for safety
In the first place, safety and security in Koskikeskus is built and maintained in close cooperation with service providers and tenants. New tenants are always briefed on the safety and security practices, and things are reviewed regularly.
– Safety and security training is available for our tenants, for example exercise on first-aid extinguishing and evacuation or safety walks, says Thure.
There is an Emergency Response Team in Koskikeskus, which is a group of tenants trained to take bigger responsibility on safety and security, and to inform their organisations about safety matters. These people know how to provide instructions in exceptional situations. They will also participate in the further improvement of safety and security in Koskikeskus.
Persistent effort for safety and security has paid off, too. The tenants recognise hazards and know the best practices. They are also more committed to maintaining safe environment.
ERP guiding the safety work
An electronic safety management system has been in use in Koskikeskus for over five years. It is a shared tool for tenants, service providers and and the centre management; also the rescue department has access.
– Rescue plan and maps are available in the system, as well as a wide variety of safety related instructions and everyday information, says Safety and Security Manager Mika Tanskanen.
For example, waste management and loading operations are important safety factors. Waste needs to be duly sorted and deliveries made according to standards.
In Koskikeskus, as well as in other Citycon’s major shopping centres, every employee in the premises has to certify for a safety passport. There is an exam for that in the safety management system, testing for example the knowledge on the procedures in case of a fire alarm or waste sorting instructions.
– The test must be passed once a year to gain access to the building. It’s been very well received, says Thure.
There is a risk assessment once a year in Koskikeskus, and Securitas makes a fire inspection four times a year. Should there be any deviations, they are reported in the safety management system and monitored there as they are corrected.
– In general the system helps significantly to manage and maintain safety and security, because all necessary elements are available in the system. All legitimate stakeholders may use the data and it is easy to keep up-to-date at all times, says Tanskanen.
Recently an electronic key management system was also introduced in Koskikeskus, with all different keys of the shopping centre registered in it. According to Tanskanen, key management is now easy, reliable and paper-free.
Clean and light equals safe
It is possible to assess and audit shopping centre safety, but according to Thure, it is always about customer experience, too. A visitor must be able to feel safe in the premises, and this can be promoted in a number of ways. Property maintenance plays a key role.
– We need to keep the premises clear and clean, the lights on, bins emptied and everything in order. Proper lighting is very important for safety in shopping centres – and in the city environment in general, says Thure.
Guarding, cameras, alarms and other security measures add to safety, but Thure wishes to emphasise the customer service aspect. Security officers deal with disturbances, but first and foremost they are there to guide and help the visitors.
Tampere is a city of events, and that has a direct impact on the volume of crowds in Koskikeskus. An ordinary Saturday brings around 17 000 visitors to the shopping centre, but a big concert, festival or sports event may almost double the number.
– We do always prepare for larger crowds, as they affect significantly all our operations, and different events attract different kinds of clientele, Thure says.