New Year firework-related injuries drop by 39% – DOH

Reynaldo Santos Jr
New Year firework-related injuries drop by 39% – DOH
The Department of Health reports 351 fireworks-related injuries as of January 1, a figure that is expected to rise until January 5

MANILA, Philippines – The New Year celebration this year has produced fewer cases of firework-related injuries compared to last year, the Department of Health said on Thursday, January 1.

Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin said in a news briefing that a total of 351 fireworks-related injuries have been reported as of 6 am.

This is a 39% drop from the 578 total cases of firework-related injuries reported on the same period last year.

She attributed the decrease in cases to the support of the local government units (LGUs). “It helped a lot that most LGUs have their own fireworks displays,” she said, saying that this discouraged most residents from lighting their own firecrackers.

“Media awareness is also important. Now, people are more afraid that they might get injured by fireworks,” Garin added.

  2014 2013
Fireworks injuries 346 566
Stray bullet 3 11
Fireworks ingestion 2 1
TOTAL 351 578

The health department also noted that there is no reported casualty from fireworks yet. Garin said the 3 victims of stray bullets were already treated and are far from danger.

Around 48% of the cases came from the National Capital Region, mostly reported in Manila (31%), Pasig City (14%), and Quezon City (13%).

Among the 50 sentinel hospitals that reported incidents of injuries to the DOH, those with the most cases are the following:

  • Tondo Medical Center, Manila:  32 cases
  • Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Manila: 31 cases
  • Region I Medical Center, Pangasinan: 28 cases
  • Rizal Medical Center, Pasig City: 27 cases 

Garin said nearly two-thirds of those injured handled firecrackers themselves, while a third were just bystanders.

More amputation

Among the reported body injuries, cases of eye injuries dropped by 18%, from 72 last year to 59 this year.

Cases of amputations, however, jumped by 75% – from 8 cases last year to 14 cases. All of the victims are male, and at least 6 of them are minors.

Garin explained that cases of amputations have increased as most of the dangerous firecrackers are sold at cheap prices.

“There are more cases of children involved because they have smaller hands which can be damaged easily by firecrackers. Also, cheaper firecrackers made it easy for children to buy,” he said.

Piccolo still main culprit

Piccolo remains the main cause of injuries among firecrackers used, which produced 166 cases as of the latest tally.

Piccolo is one of the firecrackers considered illegal under Republic Act No. 7183.

Garin, however, noted that the number of injuries was reduced from 70% on December 30 to 48% on New Year’s Eve because of the Oplan Piccolo of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

She said the DOH fully supports the total ban on these fireworks, and  expressed hope that this would be a government priority.

More cases expected

As the health department continues to monitor cases of firework-related injuries until January 5, officials say they are expecting the figures to increase.

Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said that there has been a delay in reporting by some hospitals, which is expected due to increasing number of patients coming in. He said there are some patients who opt not to go to hospitals immediately after an injury happens.

“Last year, our initial figures almost doubled by January 5. We wish, though, that this won’t happen this year,” he said.

The DOH, as well as President Benigno Aquino III, had issued separate appeals  to the public not to celebrate New Year’s eve with firecrackers for public safety and the environment. –

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