intu Bromley Case Study
Providing for Public Safety and Accountability in a Major Retail Destination
intu Bromley invested in a Chatterbox Alarm Location Monitoring system (CALM+) to improve provisions for both security and health and safety.
intu is focussed on ‘creating compelling destinations for customers with added theatre’, providing guests at its centres with a variety of popular places to meet, eat, drink, shop and socialise.
intu Bromley is one of intu’s 21 UK regional shopping centres. It offers visitors 133 retail and catering outlets over its two floors, covering 463 000 sq. ft., and attracts around 18 million customers per annum.
The centre’s Chatterbox Alarm Location Monitoring system (CALM+) provides communications for the security, management, car park, cleaning and maintenance teams enabling them all to work together effectively.
” We have a requirement to provide a safe environment for guests and workers, which we take very seriously. If an incident occurs we need to know that we have responded appropriately, and we may need to prove this too. The CALM system monitors staff movements and communications; it creates a complete record, which is also a useful training resource.”
Lee Holland Guest Services Manager, intu Bromley
Dealing with every day security incidents, and providing for security scenarios that will hopefully never occur at a busy retail destination, necessitates a robust two-way radio system.
Increasingly there is also a health and safety requirement for a two-way radio system at destinations like intu to ensure that appropriate action is taken quickly when spillages etc. occur and to record evidence as a contingency against ‘slip and trip’ personal injury claims.
The CALM+ system Chatterbox offered intu, which uses second-generation digital technology offering smaller more discreet radios with excellent coverage and sound quality and increased functionality, satisfied both their requirements and justified the decision to upgrade from their existing system. Being on a managed service contract with Chatterbox already meant that this was possible and that intu was not locked into paying for obsolete equipment.
Chatterbox installed intu’s Chatterbox Alarm Location Monitoring System (CALM+) following a site survey of the mall and back of house areas and subsequent recommendation. It comprises 60 Hytera X1p hand portable radios (with ear-pieces), four repeater base stations (linked via Ethernet cable to operate as one system with four channels and ensure seamless coverage of the site), and 110 wireless battery operated beacons (that hold a charge for up to three years). The system is monitored on PCs in the centre’s control room, where CALM+ integrated software shows two key visual displays:
- The locations of the two-way radios covered by the system are shown on-screen on a plan of the centre (using information from the beacons). As personnel move around an icon for the radio they are carrying tracks their position on screen.
- A second display screen shows the communications element. Using this screen and connecting the PC to a microphone allows control room staff to communicate with radio operators. The system allows one-to-many and private calls and texts.
The system offers the potential for adding a BMS interface in the future allowing air conditioning systems, fire alarms etc. to communicate directly with the system, raising alarms etc., without human intervention. The radios offer man down and lone worker features.
intu Bromley’s CALM+ system provides four channels servicing four user groups typical to this type of application:
- Security staff patrol the centre and are on hand to manage a range of incidents, either directly or by engaging the relevant emergency services, including handling enquiries from members of the public, accidents and health incidents, pursuing shop lifters if they have entered the public areas, and maintaining public order (crowd dispersal, excluding certain individuals etc.).
- Car park staff use the radios to assist in responding to issues with ticket machines and barriers, managing availability of spaces, etc.
- Cleaning and maintenance teams use the radios to co-ordinate standard duties and to respond when spillages and accidents occur
Responding to Serious Incidents
The CALM+ system is a crucial element of intu’s emergency response.
In the event of a fire or other threat to public safety key radio operators can push the emergency button on their radio. This is a ‘Priority Interrupt’ button. It offers the facility to interrupt any incoming or outgoing call on the radio system. Very useful in a scenario where one of the radio users is making the current radio channel busy and a manager or security officer needs to relay critical information. Priority Interrupt pulls all the two-way radios in the system on to an emergency channel. Radio users can, if they need to, respond immediately to all other users making evacuations and the response to critical situations quicker as there is no need for any users to change radio channels. Pressing the emergency button initiates Priority Interrupt, and when the same button is pressed again the system reverts to normal i.e. the channels separate.
intu’s business continuity provision for a major incident includes a second control room, which can be quickly bought into play should the main control room be compromised.
Staff Safety and Deployment
Inside intu Bromley CALM+ automatically tracks personnel movement using the Bluetooth beacons, which pick up the signal from their radios. Unlike GPS tracking, which provides a location in 2D, Bluetooth provides a 3D location making it possible to see which floor the radio user is on as well as where they are on it. Although intu Bromley has a large open central core the system overcomes this, identifying the relevant floor based on the strongest adjacent signal. This system feature achieves two key functions, health and safety and staff deployment. Members of staff have the reassurance that their movements are tracked and they can be located at any time if they require assistance, without the need for dialogue. The control room and managers can also ensure the effective deployment of staff during both normal operations and in the case of a serious incident. If required management can access the system from a tablet to monitor staff rather than using the control room PCs.
Responding in a timely and responsible manner where public health and safety is an issue is an important responsibility for any organisation, and one which intu takes very seriously. Sadly in an increasingly litigious age, for both real and staged incidents (which alarmingly seem to be in the increase) there is a need to prove how and when they have responded. Details of every spillage or accident are reported together with details of when the clean up team or security staff responded. These details together with voice recordings of communications are retained in case a claim is made, to either verify or dispute the claimant’s version of events. This system is in line with insurers’ recommendations to have documented procedures in place to defend claims that arise.
Chatterbox Alarm Location Monitoring (CALM)
CALM+ goes beyond the provision of two-way radio communication to incorporate other functions offered by two-way radios and the systems that can be integrated with them. Solutions are bespoke to each customer and their requirements. Experienced Chatterbox personnel consider the customers existing way of working, listen to their requirements, look at the technology available and build a solution appropriate to the customers business needs.
Call 0800 387 760 for a no obligation system evaluation.
Thank you to Lee Holland and his team at intu Bromley for their help in creating this case study.