December 7, 2012

Press Release/7 December 2012

The Department of Health (DOH) today launched its annual anti-firecracker injury campaign dubbed “APIR (Aksyon Paputok Injury Reduction), IWAS PAPUTOK” in a bid to reduce injuries and prevent deaths resulting from firecracker/fireworks use during the welcome of the New Year.

“This year’s campaign will focus on children aged 6-10 years old as statistics show that this age group is usually the most affected,” Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona said. In 2011, a total of 274 children in this age group became victims of firecracker use.

From 21 December 2011 to 5 January 2012, there were a total of 1,021 injuries recorded. Of this number, 987 were due to fireworks, 29 were due to stray bullets and 5 due to firecracker ingestion. In 2010, there were 1,022 cases, 972 due to fireworks, 39 due to stray bullets and 11 due to firecracker ingestion.

In 2011, there were 4 deaths reported- three due to fireworks and one due to a stray bullet. In 2010, there was a lone fatality, a 44 year old female died due to piccolo ingestion.

According to the health chief, the National Capital Region (NCR) had the most  number of cases (612), followed by the CALABARZON (80), Ilocos Region (75), and Central Luzon (69).

At the NCR, Quezon City had the most number of cases (183) followed by Manila (164), Pasig (41), Las Piñas and Mandaluyong (33 cases each), Valenzuela (32), Marikina (31), and Caloocan (30).

Ona strictly advised children not to use nor play with any firecracker/fireworks or pick any used/lighted firecracker/fireworks in order to avoid injuries. Likewise, he also cautioned parents and caregivers on the easy access of children to firecrackers which are readily available in neighborhood stores.

About 80% of all fireworks-related injuries were blasts or burns without amputation, 13% were eye injuries, while 6% were blasts or burns needing amputation.

Majority (53%) of those injured were users of fireworks. About 70% of the injuries occurred in the streets.

As to the type of fireworks that caused the most number of injuries, piccolo remained as the top injury-causing firecracker (55%). Legal fireworks like kwitis, luces and others contributed to 42% of the injuries, at 39%, 7% and 6%, respectively. Injuries from unknown fireworks that are new in the market or improvised and cannot be classified as legal or illegal were placed at 13%.

In order to prevent injuries and deaths from firecracker/fireworks, the DOH advised the public to promote and participate in community fireworks display, use alternative noise- makers like car horns, cans, pots and pans, radio music, etc, to welcome the new year or join street parties, concerts, games and, most of all, use the time to reflect on the lessons of the past year and make resolutions for a better 2013.

For those injured, the DOH advises them to seek immediate medical treatment to prevent tetanus which almost always leads to death.

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