Fire cracker seller | Photo courtesy: Cheryl Ravelo-Gagalac/Reuters
PAMPANGA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) Region 3 is encouraging local government units (LGU) to impose a ban on sales and purchase of firecrackers to achieve its target of zero-casualties in the New Year celebrations.
“I think it’s reachable if you enforce it. Strictly enforce it – no buying, no selling,” said Jessie Fantone, the head of the DOH Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit in Region 3.
In a press conference on Tuesday (December 18), the regional health officials asked the cooperation of the local government unit to promote and support the agency’s ‘Iwas Paputok’ campaign.
“Although napansin nga natin na bumaba this year we would still like to thank the PNP DILG for being more strict in the implementation of selling. The DOH can only remind the people na its dangerous to their health,” Fantone said.
Since 2015, firecracker-related injuries in Region 3 has dropped from 655 to 539 in 2016 to about half or 390 in 2017.
In 2017, the highest number recorded was in Pampanga with 159 followed by Bulacan and Nueva Ecija with 87 and 46, respectively.
Most common injuries were firecracker burns and wounds at 88%, with only 7% who suffered from eye injuries.
Meanwhile, the DOH-Region 3 will impose a code white alert beginning December 21, 2018 to January 2, 2019.
This means that hospitals will be closely monitoring firecracker-related incidents and will be on call in case of firecracker-related emergencies.
“We have standby teams in case magkaroon ng eventualities, mass casualty incident and we have available resources at our emergency rooms po sa lahat ng DOH Hospitals to manage injuries po pwedeng dalhin sa ating DOH hospitals,” said Rosanna Rosell, Representative for DOH-DRRMH Program.
The DOH reminds victims of firecrackers to wash the wound properly with clean water and immediately go to the nearest hospital for proper medical attention. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Leslie Huidem)