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The need for saving lives

The name Vincent Modell has become synonymous with helping people in need, especially foreigners ‒ expats and tourists alike ‒ injured in road accidents involving motorbikes in Phuket, and as one of the island’s leading snake-catchers. Here Vincent explains how he came to be the first responder making headlines and as the ‘Snake Guy in Phuket’ and what he sees as most important for people to know regarding helping to save lives.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 29 January 2023, 02:00PM

You have been associated with one of the Phuket-based rescue organisations as a first responder for more than eight years. Can you tell us how you came to be a predominant figure in the community?

It all started 10 years ago when I arrived in Thailand to become a scuba diving instructor. I had a motorbike accident and slid on gasoline on the road. The bike slid away and I rolled many times down the hill. I was wearing a full-face helmet but I was cut up pretty badly. I got up and immediately thought: ‘If I were in real trouble, is there anyone to help me? If an ambulance came, would they speak English? Would they help me?’

After completing my scuba instructor training and started working, I joined the Region 8 Police in Patong to assist tourists and such like. 

After two years, I decided I wanted to help people in a more direct way. I found and reached out to the largest rescue foundation in Phuket. I explained as part of the scuba diving training I had become a first aid instructor and wanted to help. They reluctantly accepted me and I am still with them now. I started with the call sign 1007, a temporary number, then on to 8149 and was reassigned 8102 due to the dedication and time spent with the foundation.

What do you actually do?

I am one of the front-line responders who will attend most calls from minor to major accidents, to illness or ‘Category 1’ calls, which are ‘life-threatening’ situations. This includes CPR calls. On the medical side, I am normally called to attend when there is a foreign national involved.

After those, I attend to anything from catching snakes in people’s homes to assisting with the road collapse at Patong Hill. We also deal with collecting dead bodies that are found in Patong and the surrounding areas.

As you have probably seen, I drive a very distinctive vehicle with emergency lights and sirens for emergency calls. In the car I carry an AED (automated external defibrillator) medical bag, emergency oxygen and various equipment such as vacuum splints.

I was very fortunate to have a local businessman and Rotary Club member purchase the AED for me. The remaining equipment was paid for personally, including refilling the medical kit. This can cost as much as B1,000 per week, depending on the amount of calls I attend.

Are you paid?

I am 100% a volunteer. I am not paid or receive any financial compensation for what I do. I actually also work as well as a volunteer with the rescue foundation, and I offer first-aid training to charity organisations such as the Good Shepherd school in Phuket Town. This is supported by my company ‘Basic Life Support Phuket’, which helps fund our charity work. As a leading First Aid Training Provider, we are able to use our experience and knowledge to help our community become safer. 

Can people help you?

Yes, we are always looking for donations, this can be done through our Facebook page “Rescue Team Volunteers Phuket”, or our company Facebook page “Basic Life Support Services Phuket”. We sell first aid / medical bags along with first aid courses where we donate a percentage to our charity work.

For more information contact Vinnie directly on either Facebook page above or by WhatsApp on 080-8648092.

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christysweet | 01 February 2023 - 14:25:15

Thank you Mr Modell for your selfless actions and dedication to helping fellow  expats. 

Old guy | 30 January 2023 - 10:16:37

If this article is accurate, why doesn't PN provide continual publicity to them? Help them expand so many could be helped in a nonpartisan non-bribed atmosphere.
Would this benefit everyone better than all those dumb government publicity photos? 


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