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Phuket first-responders fire up for underpass emergency drill

PHUKET: Members of the Department of Disaster prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), police, army officers, paramedics and firefighters came together today (Mar 30) for their first accident and disaster drill at the Darasamut Underpass.

tourism, accidents, disasters, transport,


Shela Riva

Thursday 30 March 2017, 04:19PM


Participants and some spectators gathered in front of the Central Festival Phuket East shopping mall at 9am for a briefing to explain the importance of preparation in case of natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires and tsunamis.

“This drill is important so that we can assess how disaster causes damage, and the ways to reduce that damage can be determined through training,” said Phuket Vice Governor Snith Sriwihok.

“This training will provide us with preparation on the ways that we can plan our strategy before we face real disasters,” he added.

“Phuket is a tourist destination. It is very important for us to have a good strategy in case of emergencies, as people want to visit our island. We have to make our visitors feel they would be safe in case of unexpected emergency situations.”

At 10:30am, all spectators were invited up onto the pedestrian bridge connecting over the underpass to view the 40-minute drill.

According to the DDPM, the training simulated a crash between a 10-wheeled truck and a pickup truck, causing an explosion and a fire. Seven gas tanks formed in a ring were set alight to recreate the fire resulting from the “accident”.

Firefighters emerged from the fire trucks parked in the underpass and hosed down the flames. At about 11am ambulances and paramedics arrived at the underpass, carrying out a drill to recover five people “injured” from the crash.

DDPM Phuket Chief Chaithawatch Siwabawon told The Phuket News, “The training seemed to be quite successful. Through the mistakes made during this exercise is how we can analyse our emergency-response strategy and how we can improve.”

Mr Siwabawon added, “There was also another problem during this drill that cannot be avoided, that is traffic jams.”

The entire training operation involved approximately 200 officials.

 

Additional reporting by Sameeroh Mayee

 

 

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malczx7r | 31 March 2017 - 11:54:11

So the fire trucks were already in the tunnel. Wow, I would have liked to have seen them get through the traffic in rush hour to perform a more realistic emergency scenario, then they would see the real problems they would face! This was just posturing! 

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BenPendejo | 30 March 2017 - 19:06:40

This is kindergarten-style disaster preparedness...similar to the ridiculous training at the airport yesterday that sent a huge plume of black smoke over the active airport, while a bunch of firemen stood around to squirt it down.  Neither of these exercises achieved anything in terms of professional development...more like a bunch  of clowns making a big fire for fun...then go have a big lunch.  We will see some day, when some impatient minivan causes an accident in the tunnel and his fuel tank blows and the rescue trucks get there in time to extinguish the smoldering wreckage before they remove the tourists charred bodies.

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Rorii | 30 March 2017 - 17:31:37

Interesting use of gas cylinders, probably not recommended by any safety conscious manufacturer. 

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Phuket83100 | 30 March 2017 - 16:54:04

Thanks so much for my hour long delay this morning. I do hope you all had fun in the underpass while regular commuters got held up. I suppose you couldn't play your games somewhere else... maybe on a deserted airfield?

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