Dec 272014
A total of 113 people have been reported injured in fireworks-related incidents across the country as of Dec. 27, Saturday, with one case involving swallowing of a firecracker mistaken for a candy, the Department of Health said.

In its 6 a.m. firecracker injury registry update, the DOH-National Epidemiology Center also indicated the nationwide tally is 50 cases (31%) lower than the five-year (2009-2013) average and 86 cases (43%) lower than the record in same period last year.

But the 113 is almost double the 73 cases recorded until Friday, December 26.

DOH-NEC’s label “firework-related injuries” includes direct firework injuries, firework ingestion, and stray bullet injuries.

Of the 112 cases of direct fireworks injuries, 96 (86%) involved males aged three to 68.

The DOH registry showed 39 cases (35%) involved children below 10 years old.

Metro Manila represented 39 percent or 44 of the total 113 cases, broken down into:

87 cases (78%) blast injury not requiring amputation,
Six cases (5%) of blast injury with amputation, and
19 cases (17%) sustained eye injury.

The first case of firework ingestion involved a five-year-old boy from San Mateo, Rizal, who mistook a piece of “luces” for a candy.

Also, the DOH-NEC registry indicated that nine cases (8%) required admission to health facilities.

Moreover, it showed 75 cases (67%) were caused by Piccolo.

Piccolo, Five Star, Camara, and Boga topped the list of injury-causing firecrackers in the December 27 registry.

One too many

“One life is too many to be ruined by or lost to firecracker injuries,” acting Health Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin said.

In a statement read by Health Assistant Secretary Gerardo Bayugo at a press briefing on Saturday, Garin said that while the number of cases of fireworks-related injuries as of December 27 is lower compared to the same period last year, the DOH “still finds the trend unacceptable, especially on cases where injuries resulted to permanent consequences.”

Also, she reiterated an earlier call she made to parents and care-givers of children to be “more vigilant in protecting children from using and being endangered by firecrackers.”

The DOH has partnered with the Department of Transportation and Communication, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Philippine Ports Authority, Philippine National Railways, Light Railway Transit Authority, and the Philippine Information Agency to drive home its message on the life-threatening consequences of igniting firecrackers.

Governors, mayors, and other local government executives are being tapped to join the DOH anti-firecracker campaign.

“The public is encouraged to share the ‘Iwas Paputok’ video now posted on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube,” Garin said.

DOH campaign

The DOH started last Dec. 21 its 16-day annual monitoring of casualties caused by igniting firecrackers.

From December 21 until January 5, the DOH central office, regional offices and DOH-retained hospitals and select private health facilities nationwide are placed on “Code White Alert,” which puts all personnel of participating hospitals on standby for deployment and augmentation as the need arises.

Since the launch of the anti-firecracker drive, the DOH has been encouraging the public to enjoy the holiday season by using a safer alternative to firecrackers.

Past years’ stats

DOH statistics showed that 1,018 fireworks-related injuries were recorded from Dec. 21, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014. The number is nine percent higher compared to the same period in December 2012-January 2013.

The Dec. 21, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014 figures came from 50 DOH sentinel surveillance hospitals.

Most cases in 2013-2014 period came from the NCR (587 cases), and followed by CALABARZON (80), Western Visayas (73), and Ilocos Region (65). Of the total cases, 51 percent involved males, aged six to 15 years old.

Of the 1,018 cases recorded, 997 were due to fireworks injuries, 19 were due to stray bullets, and two due to firecracker ingestion. One death reported was caused by sustained multiple injuries due to explosion of mixed firecracker powder. — LBG, GMA News

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