Tsunami alarm test fails to convince public

PATONG: The resort town’s new early warning system encountered a few hiccups during its first test on Friday, with one witness describing it as sounding like “an announcement at a temple fair”.

Two of the seven sirens installed throughout Patong Municipality failed to go off,

and even when this had been rectified, the alarms were not audible to everyone, although the manufacturers said later that the volume had been deliberately set low so as not to panic people.

The controls for the 560,000-baht system are housed within the Municipality’s public relations office. In the run-up to the test, staff distributed around 2,000 flyers and made several announcements warning that the alarms were about to be tested, and that this was just a drill.

However, public reaction seemed to suggest that the warnings were superfluous. Chuchart Jinda, who was in Patong during the test, said, “I heard it, but it was not clear and it was too quiet.

“It’s not efficient as a warning system, as the sound was carried away on the wind. It is good to be prepared for things, but it must be better than this … It sounded like an announcement at a temple fair.”

Jakkapan Duangjan agreed. “I heard the siren only once, and it wasn’t clear. It won’t work as a warning system. If they want it to be an alarm, it must be better than what you see in films; it should be loud and clear. However, I suppose anything it’s better than nothing.”

Swede Stig Forsen didn’t even know there had been a test. “I didn’t know they were going to test an alarm system, and I didn’t hear it anyway. It’s good to have a system in place, but I certainly didn’t hear it,” he said.

Somboon Ratanapanang, a spokesman for the manufacturer, UA Thai Industry, defended the system, saying, “The announcements may have been almost inaudible, but we set the volume low because we didn’t want to panic people.

“Every outlet worked efficiently, though, and I’m confident that, when we check it quarterly, it will work well.”

Phuket News

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