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DoH renews call vs firecrackers to welcome New Year

Posted on: January 1, 2010

DoH renews call vs firecrackers to welcome New Year

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 11:25:00 12/31/2009

Filed Under: Festive Events (including Carnivals), Customs & Traditions, Health, Accidents (general)

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DoH) urged the public to refrain from using firecrackers, especially illegal ones, in welcoming the New Year to prevent injuries and death.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III recommended a ban on the use of firecrackers in residential areas and urged local authorities to designate common fireworks areas.

“These devices are not toys and are very dangerous, especially in the hands of innocent children. Fireworks should be lighted and handled by professionals,” he added.

Duque said the health department, together with the Philippine National Police, had banned the sale of powerful fire crackers like pla-pla, piccolo, 5-star, atomic bomb, triangulo, super lolo, and boga – major causes of injuries during the holidays.

However, the items continue to be sold since regulations are not enforced strictly and demand for these firecrackers is high.

Instead of using firecrackers, even those that are considered legal like luces, National Epidemiology Center (NEC) director Dr. Eric Tayag urged the public to simply blow car horns, toy trumpets to welcome the New Year.

He said families could also watch firework displays to be staged in different parts of the country.

The City of Manila, for example, announced Thursday that they would hold a fireworks display at Baywalk, across Rajah Sulayman Park along Roxas Boulevard on New Year’s Eve.

Tayag also warned children against playing with firecrackers that have not exploded and for water
to be poured on them to avoid further injury.

If an injury occurs, wash the affected area with mild soap and clean water as first aid treatment to prevent tetanus infection and then bring the injured person to the nearest hospital. (Click the listto view the 50 sentinel hospitals accepting firecracker-related injuries)

The health official also urged public vigilance in reporting indiscriminate gun-firing by calling
NEC at (02) 743-60-76 or PNP hotline 117.

Between December 21 and 30, the DoH recorded a total of 210 injuries up by 22 percent from cases reported last year. Of the total, 207 were firework-related cases – one due to watusi ingestion and two from stray bullets.

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