35% decrease in New Year injuries noted

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Thursday, January 3, 2013


DESPITE yearly warnings from health officials on the dangers of firecrackers, some continue to learn their lessons the hard way.

Thirty-four cases of firecracker-related injuries were noted as of the evening of January 1, including an amputation of the hand of a seven-year-old boy from Abra due to an ignited firecracker that resulted in the mangling of one of his hands.

Department of Health Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit chief Dr. Nicolas Gordo Jr. noted a continuing trend of decreasing cases of firecracker injuries, which was 35 percent lower than last year’s 52 cases and 92 cases registered in 2010, signaling the success of their continued campaign against the use of firecrackers and fireworks in welcoming the year.

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Most of the injuries include blast burns, eye-injuries, while some injuries resulted in mangled fingers that often lead to amputation, he said.

Gordo congratulated local officials in Baguio City after it noted lower cases of firecracker and firework-related injuries after a ban on firecrackers was imposed by the local government.

From last year’s 25 cases of firecracker-related injuries in Baguio, there were only six cases this year.

He said some of these cases might have come from other nearby provinces as reports have reached them that some injured were only treated at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center.

Cordillera provinces all noted decreases in firecracker injuries but Abra province continued to top the list of the number of injured persons with 13 injuries recorded, followed by Baguio and Benguet recording six cases each, Apayao province with four recorded injuries, and Ifugao province with three recorded injuries.

Among the Cordillera provinces, Mt. Province and Kalinga registered only an injury each as of press time, which means campaigns on the use of firecrackers were also successful in their areas.

Action Paputok Injury Reduction coordinator Elnoria Bugnosen said the final data of injured persons due to firecrackers is still being finalized until January 4 when they will tally all reports coming in to their office.

Gordo said piccolo continued to rank first among the type of firecrackers that caused injuries, with 12. He said this type of firecracker remains high-risk especially to children.

Other firecrackers that caused injuries include plapla, fountain, kwitis, whistle bomb, mother rocket, three-star and five-star.

The DOH is still confirming one incident of stray-bullet in Tabu, Kalinga that injured a 13 year-old boy.

Meanwhile, the police and fire departments continued their monitoring operations, especially in Baguio where a firecracker ban was implemented.

Despite calls from Mayor Mauricio Domogan for the public to refrain from using firecrackers and join in the city’s centralized fireworks displays, police and fire departments continued to receive reports and calls of firecracker blasts in many barangays.

However, the police noted firecracker use were fewer compared to previous years and were only concentrated in areas which are far from police stations and in the city outskirts.

Baguio City Police Office Director Jesus Cambay gave a directive to all police stations in the city to conduct foot and mobile patrols and monitor areas where there are reports of firecracker use.

BCPO spokesperson Inspector Viyo Hidalgo said the city director led inspections of stalls set-up by members of the Baguio Paputok Luces Atbp. at the Old City Auditorium last December 30 to 31.

Law enforcers were able to confiscate several banned firecrackers as well as toy guns and replicas from vendors prior to the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

The city’s top cop also led the ceremonial taping of service firearms of the local police to ensure no victim of stray bullet injury will be perpetrated by any member of the BCPO.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 03, 2013.

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