Emergency response plan coming for Phuket Airport

PHUKET CITY: A provincial committee will draw up an emergency response plan for Phuket International Airport (PIA), the first of its kind in Thailand.

The announcement came at a meeting chaired by Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop at Phuket Provincial Hall on Thursday.

Representing the airport at the meeting was PIA Deputy Director Sutheep Sansiripan.

Governor Wichai said the need for an emergency response plan comes following the two-day takeover of the airport by anti-government protesters from the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) in August last year and the crash of the One-Two-Go flight in September, 2007.

The committee hopes to have the plan in place before the Asean+3 summit, which is scheduled to take place in October.

However, an integrated emergency response plan is needed at the airport regardless of whether the summit takes place in Phuket, Governor Wichai said.

“If successful, we will be the first province to have an operation plan in place in case something happens at the airport. But we will need co-operation from everyone and all relevant departments to develop such a plan, which will remain in place permanently,” he said.

Development of the plan will follow emergency response training drills to be carried out at the airport for five days starting on August 24.

“The biggest day will be August 27. We really hope it will be a success,” Governor Wichai said.

Similar drills have already been conducted at Chiang Mai, Suvarnabhumi and Khon Khaen airports.

Among the agencies taking part are the Phuket Provincial Police, Phuket Provincial Office, Phuket Public Health Office, Provincial Electricity Authority Phuket Office and other utility suppliers, telecommunications agencies, tambon administration organizations and the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization.

Observing the drill will be representatives from Airports of Thailand, the Royal Thai Air Force, Army and Navy.

Governor Wichai will form a committee made up of members from the various agencies, which will set up the plan and establish a chain-of-command to facilitate responses to any future crises at the airport.

“This plan for Phuket will be really helpful, giving people a sense of security and rebuilding trust in Phuket and in Thailand,” Governor Wichai said.

“We need to inform people who might be affected by the exercise, especially from the traffic. I hope everyone will understand,” he said.

— Kitima Pornmongkhonwat

Phuket News

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