Phuket hospital praised for earthquake emergency-response drill

PHUKET: Governor Maitri Inthusut hailed the annual emergency evacuation drill at Vachira Phuket Hospital yesterday an “impressive” success.

The afternoon drill featured an earthquake simulation in which participants pretended that the building was shaking and items were falling off the shelves. They also carried out a fire drill and recreated the scenario of staff losing track of patients in the chaos.

“The exercise simulated a magnitude 5.6 earthquake. We acted out evacuation procedures as if a fire had started, forcing us to evacuate the entire inpatient building,” explained Hospital Director Jessada Chungpaibulpatana.

As part of the exercise, medical staff inside the building attached volunteers posing as bed-ridden patients to a harness to evacuate them from the second floor, he added.

“The drill went very well. Staff know what to do if we are ever in a situation in which we have to evacuate people from the building. Also, we practiced how to immediately contact the fire department and other relevant authorities for help,” said Dr Jessada.

About 300 people took part in the event, including hospital staff, students from Chalermprakiet School, officials from Phuket City Municipality and members of the APFA Asia Pre-hospital and Fire Rescue Federation Association (FARA).

“The exercise was very impressive,” said Governor Maitri.

He stressed to the participants and hospital staff the importance of maintaining equipment and ensuring that an evacuation route is always clear in case of an emergency.

“Staff need to make sure that all rescue equipment is in good condition and ready to use at all times,” he said.

“Also, the parking lot must not be overcrowded and escape routes must never be blocked, as no one can predict when we might have to deal with a real emergency.”

— Chutharat Plerin

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