Phuket Gov calls evacuation drill a success

MAI KHAO, PHUKET: Five years after the tsunami that devastated parts of the Phuket coastline, authorities set out to prove that the island is ready to cope if a similar tragedy occurred today.

Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop pronounced the Christmas Day simulation a success.

“Everybody took it seriously,” he said.

The exercise came as part of activities organized to mark National Disaster Prevention Day on December 26, established as such after the tsunami.

The exercise, organized by the Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO), focused on long-distance evacuation of tsunami casualties.

Medical staff from the 14 southern provinces, Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation officials, local rescue foundation workers and staff from Phuket’s six hospitals all took part.

The exercise centered on Phuket International Airport.

At 9:30am Gov Wichai and his wife Thaisika, who heads the Phuket chapter of the Thai Red Cross Society, were joined by other dignitaries for a short memorial ceremony at the tsunami memorial monument at Mai Khao Beach.

At 10am the simulation began, with local government offices receiving reports of a tsunami.

Medical staff divided into Disaster Medical Assistant Teams (DMATs), each with one doctor, two nurses and two assistants.

Seven DMATs were prepared to take care of patients, one from each hospital on the island except for Vachira Phuket, which had two.

A Staging Care Unit (SCU) was set up at the airport to take care of patients who could not be treated at island hospitals.

The Royal Thai Air Force used a C-130 transport airplane to fly six ‘patients’ in critical condition to a hospital in Nakhon Sri Thammarat.

Gov Wichai said he was very pleased with the way the exercise went.

“Tourists coming to Phuket can be confident about our medical transportation in case a tsunami or any other disaster takes place,” he said.

— Pimwara Choksakulpan

Phuket News
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