THE same warnings and announcements have started to come out about the use of firecrackers this holiday season, but nothing new is expected to happen.
Nothing new refers to the same warnings issued against firecrackers as they can cause injury, even death; the ban on firecracker use in private and public areas except in those designated as “blast” zones; and the usual preparations of hospitals to accept those with injuries.
We hear and read about them every year. Like Christmas and New Year, these are seasonal.
The police issued warnings on firecracker injuries on schedule with officials calling on local government units last week to form their own task force to monitor the sale of pyrotechnics.
In Cebu City, the firecracker zone is at the South Road Properties (SRP). Sellers of pyrotechnic products are not allowed outside the SRP.
For the Department of Health (DOH), the holidays are for being on alert for a sudden surge in arrivals of people with injuries. A “code white” level of preparedness will take effect this week in public hospitals.
This preparedness level will be from Dec. 21, 2019 until Jan. 5 next year, said Dr. Shelbay Blanco, DOH health emergency management head. Code white means personnel are ready to attend to trauma cases, especially firecracker-related injuries at all times during specific periods in all DOH hospitals, Blanco said.
In the last Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, a total of 67 people suffered firecracker injuries in the region based on data as of Jan. 4, 2019. This number is higher than the 54 injured in the previous celebrations in 2018.
Cebu continued to have the highest number of incidents in the region. As of the January 2019 data, Cebu had the highest number of firecracker-related injuries in the region at 53 cases. Four cases involved amputation, 39 had injuries, seven had eye wounds and three were hit by stray bullets during an indiscriminate firing of guns.
It was about the same distribution of injuries in the previous year, showing patterns in the kinds of injuries this season.
For this year’s celebrations, expect the usual injuries despite all the usual warnings, although blasted fingers and punctured eyes are not something you would wish to befall on others, especially children who are among the usual victims.
Authorities have to come up with something new, something different to force a result that would run counter to the trend and where there would be fewer or no more firecracker injuries.
Identifying “blast” zones and areas where they could sell are apparently not enough to cut the number of injury cases. Pushing alternative noise-making devices in the market would not change the numbers.
Something new could be to have one big fireworks display for all to view. A giant fireworks show that would satisfy the want for something grand, loud and breathtaking to welcome Christmas or the New Year. That would be new.