The evacuation drill was hailed a success by organising officials, who orchestrated a slew of government departments, emergency-response agencies and medical staff in providing the disaster-emergency that would be required in the event that a genuine tsunami would strike our shores again.
Enthusiasm in taking part led several participants into making a false start, running from the beach before the alarms sounded, explained Patong Deputy Mayor Boonma Aeapsap, responsible for the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation at Patong Municipality (DDOM-Patong).
“Today was not so smooth because of the weather, but still many people took part. Some were a bit lost in the exercise, and some groups started running before the sirens sounded the alarm,” Mr Boonma said.
“They were called back and it was explained to them again to not start until the sirens sound. After that, they had a much better understanding of the exercise,” he added.
Mr Boonma said that the mass evacuation drill did not interfere with the Patong’s daily affairs, despite the beach road and Bangla Rd being closed for the exercise.
“It was not that much of a disturbance. After the evacuation was complete, police removed the barriers and re-opened the roads to traffic after 3pm,” he said.
Patong Munciiaplaity will work to improve on their emergency-response effectiveness, Mr Boonma added.
“We will improve on what we achieved today. DDPM-Patong will hold our own mass-evacuation drill sometime early next year,” he said.
Today’s drill was a co-ordinated exercise tsunami with mass-evacuation and emergency-response drills held in every province along the Andaman Coast under the banner of the Integrated Disaster Management Exercise (IDMEx 2019: TSUNAMI).
Under the project, mass tsunami-evacuation drills were conducted in Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun yesterday and today (June 24-25).
Tomorrow (June 26), a meeting will be at the DDPM Region 18 Phuket office in Phuket Town to review the exercise and make any adjustments necessary.
A further review and “Table Top Exercise” will be held at the Novotel Phuket Phokeethra hotel in Phuket Town from 9am to 4pm on Friday (June 28), followed by a “Functional Exercise” held at Phuket Provincial Hall from 9am to 4:30pm on July 1.
From July 4-6, evacuation drill exercises will be held at the Phuket Deep Sea Port at Ao Makham, Wichit, followed by a review of the exercise at the Phuket Deep Sea Port on July 7.
In announcing the drill last week, the DDPM-Phuket office asked, “Those who living in the evacuation drill areas, please join the evacuation drills at the set locations and times.”
People seeking more information about tsunami-evacuation drills and preparedness may call the DDPM 24-hour hotline 1784.