Phuket Airport tests security with a gunman simulation drill

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Phuket International Airport on Friday became a hive of activity as it underwent a security drill in case of a gunman attack.

A full-scale exercise of Phuket International Airport Emergency Plan (PEMEX 2023) was enacted, simulating an ‘active gunman’ scenario. The drill took place following the departure of the last domestic flight for the day and was conducted from 11pm on the second floor of the Domestic Terminal.

Security exercises like this are routinely held at the airport under the ‘PEMEX’ banner primarily designed to ensure that all response agencies and organisations are well-trained and aware of the necessary procedures to tackle such emergencies. The practice session was held at a controlled time, under controlled circumstances after all passengers for the day’s final flight had exited the vicinity. It aimed at preparing personnel for a scenario involving a gunman on a rampage within the domestic terminal, The Phuket News reported.

Notable figures such as Anupap Rodkwan Yodrambam, the Vice Governor of Phuket, and other distinguished guests were present to overlook the proceedings. Others in attendance included Sermphan Sirikong, Provincial Police Commander Monchai Tanode, the General Manager of Phuket International Airport, and Bancha Thanu-in, the Thalang District Chief.

The operation did not exclusively focus on warding off armed attacks. Additional parts of the plan encompassed responding to saboteur operations, and incendiary incidents. It also included plans to deal with hostage-taking crises. Airports of Thailand Phuket Branch (AoT Phuket) reported that the primary goal of the operation was to ensure the readiness and ability of various agencies to respond to such dire events, in an efficient, coordinated, and timely manner.

The exercise garnered wide participation from numerous agencies encompassing Provincial Police Region 8, Sakhu Police, and Phuket Airline Operations Committee (AOC). The partners also included members from the Airports of Thailand ground service company (AOTGA) and AOT AVSEC, a private security firm provided by Airports of Thailand Co Ltd (AOT).

It wasn’t only security-related agencies and company staffers who participated in the drill. Medical and public health personnel from Vachira Phuket Hospital and the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office, along with representatives from Subdistrict Administrative Organisation for Mai Khao, Sakhu and Thepkrasattri were among the participants. These drills are a testament to the commitment of Phuket’s agencies to maintaining high-security standards and being prepared for possible crises, ultimately ensuring collective safety.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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