While the concept of shopping mall originated in the US, today it has become a retail trend all over the world. Malls are no longer just the places where people go to buy stuff – the malls have become engaging places where people love to spend time with their friends and families.
With lots of swanky shops selling a wide range of good, a host of eating joints, coffee shops, gaming areas, and movie theatres, malls have become the go-to place for many families over weekends. To ensure that the placeis safe for the patrons, the malls take a lot of precautions in the background and have a lot of systems in place.
Let us take a look –
Most of the malls have basement parking spread over multiple floors and thousands of vehicles are parked there at any given point. When it comes to parking lots, it’s important to accept and understand that even if the place is well-ventilated, there are vehicles leaking oil and gasoline, and the amount of CO emissions is usually higher than usual in these areas. Keeping this in mind, the mallsgenerally have two systems in place- the first being a gas detector for carbon monoxide and the second for exhausting CO emissions. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. It’s colourless and odourless which makes it impossible to detect without a gas detector. This is one of the most common causes of poisoning and can be prevented with the right system. Coming toCO emissions, although we are always exposed to this seemingly harmless gas, it’s important to understand that this gas can take a life if human beings are exposed to a large quantity. This is why the mall typically also have CO detectors in the parking areas as well as the within the mall. CO detectors coupled with Ventilation/Exhaust fans make parking lots safer.
Food courts are one of the most visited places in the malls. Families enjoy their time here savouring on the variety of delicacies available. With so many restaurants, kitchens, bars, and breweries in the food court area, fires caused by LPG/PNG leaks are one of the highest risks. It is, therefore, mandatory for all the kitchens to have a good LPG/PNG gas detector installed in their kitchens. These splash-proof and water-proof detectors are designed to signal a warning before the gas density in the air reaches dangerous levels.
The restaurants and eating joints at the food court also operate refrigeration systems, which are prone to gas leaks. Since gas leaks from cold storage facilities have claimed the lives of many and have caused serious health complications for survivors, malls also deploy special cold storage gas detectors to detect the dangerous ammonia gas emissions from cold storage systems.
With so many electric equipments, computerisation, and automation inside the mall, it is obvious that the malls are home to large-scale battery rooms. The battery rooms can be hazardous areas and all the people accessing the rooms need to take appropriate safety measures. Lead Acid batteries release Hydrogen in small qty. Hydrogen is highly flammable gas. Accumulation of Hydrogen in the battery room can cause explosion and Fire.
To ensure the safety inside the battery rooms, the malls make sure that the batteries are mounted on appropriate racks which are properly insulated from earth. The battery stands are carefully designed for easy access and service. The rooms are also appropriately ventilated to remove excess hydrogen from the room. Such battery rooms are often fitted with Hydrogen Gas Detection systems to detect the hydrogen gas concentration in the room and raise an alarm when the concentration levels go above 10% of LEL (LEL of Hydrogen is 4%)so as to prevent any explosions.
Fire Suppression Systems
A fire suppression system is an automated system which can activate the extinguishing of a fire without any human interference. Such systems are integral in a mall because gas leaks are certainly not the only cause for fires within the mall. Fires caused by electricity, negligence or foul play cannot be detected or stopped by any detector. A fire suppression system can be tailored to release sprinklers on detecting smoke or suppress the fire using gases, depending on the nature of the fire.There are also alarm systemswhich get activated in an event of a fire.
Security Equipment and Procedures
Most malls use CCTV security cameras to keep an eye on the common areas in the mall. Security teams are trained to monitor the live video streaming of the CCTV security cameras. The mall’s security team is also trained to ensure that the staff, visitors, and the mall aresafe. Especially during the rush hours, the mall’s security program is enhanced to include emergency procedures. The security team is updated about the operational logistics, security systems, cameras, and fast emergency response. The patrol routes and times are also defined to make sure that any suspicious activities are immediately detected and acted upon.
When it comes to malls and safety, an age-old saying comes to our minds, “prevention is better than cure”. The modern-day malls have started employing various tools, techniques, and measures to ensure that their consumers feel welcome and safe at the mall and get an enjoyable experience.