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