Quick as a Heartbeat: Jurong Mall workers make counter-terror exercise a success

A counter-terrorism exercise codenamed Heartbeat taking place in Jurong Point Shopping Centre on April 19, 2018.
A counter-terrorism exercise codenamed Heartbeat taking place in Jurong Point Shopping Centre on April 19, 2018.PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - Two "terrorists" armed with knives and Molotov cocktails entered Jurong Point Shopping Centre and attacked its security personnel.

But the mall's 400-plus tenants were ready and equipped to deal with the "crisis".

They had downloaded the SGSecure app and been briefed by the building owner on SGSecure advice and resources ahead of this year's second counter-terrorism exercise - codenamed Heartbeat - which took place on Thursday (April 19).

The Straits Times understands that tenants in the mall would call out to "shoppers" in their vicinity - roles played by volunteers - and let them hide in their stores.

Security staff were trained to apply improvised first aid prior to the arrival of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and given personal mobility transporters to conduct patrols and respond quickly to incidents.

The detailed preparation and planning for the exercise were a joint effort by the Ministry of Manpower, Singapore Police Force (SPF), SCDF and mall owner Mercatus group to improve cooperation and coordination between the authorities and business stakeholders during a terror attack.

SGSecure is a national movement to train and mobilise Singaporeans to play a part in preventing and dealing with terrorist attacks.

Due to the potential harm of terror attacks on businesses, building owners of malls such as Jurong Point need to implement measures and prepare for such events with their business partners, the SPF said.

For example, efficient communication channels need to be set up to ensure quick and smooth dissemination of information during a crisis. Staff should also be properly equipped with the knowledge and skills to recognise and mitigate terror risks, it added.

Representatives from other shopping centres under the Mercatus group were also given the chance to witness the counter-terrorism exercise.

General manager of Jurong Point Shopping Centre, Mr William Seet, said: "We will… continue to work closely with the authorities in adopting relevant measures to ensure the safety and security of our shoppers."