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Better firecracker injury reduction drive eyed in Bicolandia

By Keren Anne Bernadas

NAGA CITY --- The Department of Health in Bicol (DOH-5) plans to recalibrate its anti-firecracker strategies to better curb injuries during the holiday revelry.

At the Ugnayan sa Bicol briefing on Tuesday, Julie Ann Granadino, DOH injury prevention program manager for Bicol, said that new strategies may be discussed with the Bureau of Fire Protection and Department of Trade and Industry given the significant increase in firecracker and firework-related injuries in the region before the end of 2023.

As of January 3, hospitals have documented a total of 45 fireworks-related injuries (FWRI) in the region.

The injuries, recorded from December 21 to 31 last year, were 125 percent higher compared to the cases for the same period in 2022, Granadino said.

Granadino said the DOH-5 would continue to monitor fireworks-related cases until January 6.

“Firecrackers are believed to drive away evil spirits, but they are risky and can cause eye injuries,” Granadino said in a mix of English and Bicolano.

“There are different alternatives to celebrate that will not compromise health and safety. Fireworks can negatively affect not only our bodies, but also our lives and livelihoods,” she added.

All but one individual who were injured by fireworks have been discharged from hospitals. One victim is still recovering at Camarines Norte Provincial Hospital.

The victims consist of 37 males and 8 females, with the most common age group being children aged seven to 12 years old.

From the records of the sentinel hospitals, the following types of fireworks were identified: Picolo (one), kwitis (16), five star (seven), lucis (three), fountain (two), whistle bomb (one), bawang (one), improvised canon (nine), and three others.

According to the latest bulletin, released on January 3, almost one out of every three cases from the total FWRI came from Camarines Norte (16), followed by Camarines Sur (10), and Albay (seven).

The provinces with the lowest number of FWRIs were Masbate (one), Catanduanes (one), and Sorsogon (two).

The cities of Naga and Legazpi incurred seven and one FWRIs, respectively.


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