DOH targets zero firecracker injuries for New Year 2018

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) said it aims to have zero firecracker-related injuries – or at least minimise them – when Filipinos welcome the new year. 

In a statement on Monday, December 4, the DOH said this year’s “Oplan: Iwas Paputok” campaign seeks to encourage revelers, especially children, to just watch fireworks displays in their communities instead of buying and lighting dangerous firecrackers on New Year’s Eve. 

This is in keeping with Executive Order Number 28, “Providing for the Regulation and Control of the Use of Firecrackers and other Pyrotechnic Devices,” which President Rodrigo Duterte recently issued. 

The DOH held a press conference Monday with its National Capital Regional office, the education department, the Philippine National Police, the Bureau of Fire Protection, the city government of Manila, and EcoWaste Coalition – its partners in conducting information campaign and ensuring quick response during emergencies during the festivities. 

It also acknowledged the crucial role that local governments will play in promoting alternative means of merrymaking so revellers would avoid using firecrackers. 

In last year’s celebration – from December 21, 2016, to January 5, 2017 – the DOH’s sentinel sites recorded a combined 630 fireworks-related injuries. Of these, 627 were from fireworks injuries and 3 cases of fireworks/firecrackers ingestion. There were no deaths reported.

The 630 cases were a decrease of 292 from the total cases during the same period 2015-2016. It was also 319 cases less than the average number from 2011 to 2015. 

Duterte’s EO limits firecrackers to community fireworks displays to hopefully avoid injuries and casualties. 

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said: “Be safe during the holidays. I encourage everyone to join community fireworks displays in your barangays. In the unfortunate event of an injury, seek immediate medical treatment for all fireworks-related ones.” – Rappler.com