Figures from the Department of Health show that most injuries during last year’s holiday celebrations were due to five popular firecrackers: piccolo, kwitis, five star, pla-pla, and luces. Over one-third of the 1,022 victims were children aged 1 to 10. There were also 39 victims of stray bullet last year while 11 suffered from firework-ingestion.
Most victims were residents of Metro Manila (581), Ilocos Region (73), Central Luzon and CALABARZON (66 cases each), and Western Visayas (65). Injuries sustained during the holiday celebrations resulted in blasting without amputation (79%), eye injury (15%), and blast injury with amputation (6%).
Last month, the health department launched a nationwide firework-injury reduction initiative dubbed “Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction” or APIR. “Apir” means giving a high-five in Filipino.
In line with this, Health Secretary Enrique Ona urged local governments and private entities to organize community fireworks displays (CFDs) on designated areas to minimize injury to individuals, fire hazards, and other accidents. Ona encouraged communities to pool their resources so they have “better fireworks than they would be able to purchase individually.”
President Benigno Aquino III echoed DOH’s campaign during his annual New Year message, urging the public to stop patronizing firecrackers. , saying these. He added that firecrackers not only endanger the life and safety of many Filipinos – it also worsens air pollution in the country.
Ona reminded parents that children should not use any fireworks, and that people must stay away from exploding fireworks. He added that used fireworks should not be picked up. Once injured, the victim should immediately seek treatment from the nearest hospital.
Aside from participating in CFDs, the health department has given other tips on how 2012 can be welcomed in a safer and more meaningful way:
1) Celebrate the holiday with family and loved ones
2) Use alternative noise-makers to welcome the New Year like car horns, cans, pots and pans, radio music, etc);
3) Join merry-making activities such as street parties, concerts, games); and,
4) Use the time to reflect on the lessons of the past year and make resolutions for a better 2012).