LITERATURE REVIEWMall as a Public SpaceShopping malls generally altered the lives of many (Browne 1980, p. 2) as it is no longer merely a place to shop but a shopper’s paradise, a public shrine, and a place to socialize. According to Muhlbacher et al. (2006, p. 561), some people coming to the malls are window shopping and attracted by cool and air conditioned environment. Malls can be found in many countries in the world. In Canada, some malls contain 800 stores, ice-skating, and 24 movie screens. In Japan, an underground mall has 46 movie theatres and 1,500 restaurants.
However, Burton (2009, p. 135) explains that malls are not always a great place to be. For employees, working at malls is tiresome, as they have to work long hours, poor working conditions, lack of clean air and sufficient lighting. For shoppers, a mall is generally secured except for criminal elements waiting for an opportunity (Green et al. 2002, p. 319). However, this does not mean a major disaster cannot happen in a mall. Although, mall may look like safe considering the number of security personnel around, malls are enclosed shopping centre and when a fire broke out, smoke and hot gases would rapidly spread (Hall & Greeno 2009, p. 556).
In addition, the density of occupants and the large number of shoppers at a certain time can mean real and serious danger when an accident occurred or a major criminal activity takes place. The following sections explain the different aspect of mall safety concerns and the need to protect civilians in this type of commercial facility. Risk and ResponsesIn general, risks are seen as the possibility of losses that may suffered by people and the built environment as result of hazards.
Similarly, damages can be viewed as the number of casualties, destroyed properties, and time of delay in search and rescue activities (Casals & Margottini 2004, p. 171). Responses on the other hand are actions occurring immediately before, during, and after the disaster to save lives, minimize damage to property, and enhance the effectiveness of recovery. However, the most important and probably more logical is mitigation policies and activities. Mitigation is prevention and identification of vulnerability to reduce the damage from future disasters.
It may include structural mitigation where measures to keep hazards away from people and buildings, or to strengthen buildings, infrastructure such as electrical power, construction practices, and other relevant mitigation activities to withstand the consequences of disasters. Non-structural mitigation on the other hand is activities that would attempt to secure the population and the constructed environment to reduce disaster losses. For instance, zoning ordinances can reduce exposure by limiting the density of human occupancy in particularly hazardous areas (Mileti 1999, p. 24). In practice, risks management may involve looking ahead in the future and resilience (Hood & Jones 1996, p. 10).
It may include anticipation and detection of factors that may affect the safety of individuals and the community in advance. One good example of these ‘precautionary’ measures is determining how a certain factor such as the number of people in one large complex can affect the safety of each individual in the area. Since the safest and the most logical response is to avoid all danger (Smith 2004, p. 54), occurrence of accidents from hazardous factors does not excuse management for its negligence or failure to understand indications of impending danger (Sauer 2003, p. 33).
In addition, risks are real thus everyone has the immediate responsibility to develop an appropriate responses that include understanding the risk so underlying cause can be treated to avoid disaster (Howes 2005, p. 25). Regulations and guidelines have been created in line with the increasing demand for public safety and increase safety of environments in which the public would be exposed (Wogalter & Dejoy 1999, p. 3).