Sadly, no one is unaware of the constant state of vigilance that mall owners and managers must operate in today’s social environment. Whether it is a skirmish for a parking spot that escalates into something bigger, an unfathomable act of violence that brings emergency response teams to your property, or even Mother Nature’s own brand of disaster delivered in epic snowstorms, hurricanes and tornadoes, none of us are immune to the ‘what if’s.’ Though we can never completely prevent, nor predict disasters, we can prepare for them.
In 2014, during the chaos surrounding a mall shooting, you may recall a live television interview with a store manager whose voice was shaking in fear—she was calling from her hiding spot in a back room on her cell phone, with no idea of whether or not the shooter was found and she could safely return to her store. While JLL’s leadership watched and listened, they vowed to do everything they could to protect their retailers, their employees and the customers from ever experiencing that fear of the unknown; a lack of information or not receiving timely communication.
The solution: identify cutting-edge, emerging technology to create a digital communication system that efficiently distributes critical information during an emergency situation. The firm built a comprehensive program that allows for individual subscribers at its third-party managed centers to choose to receive crisis communications by single or multiple channels and receive alerts in the manner which they are most likely to receive them in real-time.
A year later, the RedFlag Alert System is now mandatory for all JLL-managed full service retail properties. The system has a 100% adoption rate by JLL’s full-service retail properties (91) and has more than 12,000 subscribers to the system.
But numbers don’t mean anything – the proof is in the results (only two, which is a good thing when you’re looking at crisis management.)
In February, a JLL-managed center in New Mexico was the target of a one-off armed robbery – an incident all too many shopping centers are familiar with. Immediately the RedFlag program was executed by management, while police simultaneously implemented their standard protocol. The RedFlag system was used to put the center on lockdown and secure tenant spaces quickly, a task that previously could take up to an hour, was executed in 2 minutes. Once the center was secured, a second wave of RedFlag messages went out to evacuate the center. The result: no injuries or harm caused to employees, tenants or shoppers.
When JLL assumed management of a new center in Hawaii the management and operations teams were able to effectively implement RedFlag within 24 hours with the added pressure of an impending hurricane. During the hurricane warning, all employees and tenants received notices to keep them informed on the property’s status, and up-to-date on next steps. The result: luckily the hurricane didn’t impact the center, but the team was prepared nonetheless.
For more information about JLL’s emergency preparedness programming and retail property management services please contact:
Karen Raquet, Director of National Retail Property Services, JLL