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Celebrate a Hassle-free New Year's Eve

"Tips on how to prevent firework-related injuries"
By: Gwen Y. Reyes-Amurao, M.D.Celebrate a Hassle-free New Year's Eve

The festivities of a brand new year are something that everyone looks forward to. Since fireworks are a holiday staple, it’s not unlikely that injuries occur around this particular time of year. Despite incidence of firework-related accidents decreasing yearly, it’s still something that we aim to completely eradicate in the future.

Based on statistics, the various preventive programs rolled out by the Department of Health – Epidemiology Bureau (DOH-EB) had effectively decreased the number of firework-related injuries last year (from December 21, 2015 to January 3, 2016) as it is significantly lower by 79 cases or 9 percent than the recorded 839 cases in 2015, majority of which were from the National Capital Region. In the United States alone. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, records more than 10,000 people treated each year in the US Emergency Rooms for firework-related injuries. Sadly children 14 years old and younger sustain about 50% of the injuries related to fireworks, with 75% of them being boys. Statistics also indicate that most injuries involve the hands and fingers, followed by the eyes, then the head and the face. More than half of the injuries involved burns, with the most common firecracker being the piccolo.

Medicine.net defines firework-related injury as an injury from a device for producing a striking display by the combustion of explosive or flammable compositions, which makes all fireworks potentially dangerous to anyone, most especially children.

The CDC recommends the following tips in order to avoid injuries related to firecracker or firework use.

  • Follow all international and national product standards (DTI, PS, TUV, CE, etc) and local ordinances regarding sales, purchasing, and use of fireworks.
  • Only sober, responsible, and competent adults should be handling and lighting fireworks.
  • Follow fireworks guidelines for establishing a hot zone where only the adult lighting the fireworks is allowed.
  • Wear eye and hand protection when lighting fireworks to lessen risk of injury from noise, flames, or shrapnel.
  • Never launch fireworks towards any person, property, or animal.
  • Position observers a safe distance that is upwind from any launching, burning, or falling fireworks.
  • Do not handle any fireworks that are burning, smoldering, or smoking.
  • Do not light fireworks in or near buildings, debris, or other structures that could easily catch fire.
  • Beware of falling residue from fireworks that exploded in the atmosphere such as plastic covers, sticks, carton tubes and containers.
  • Never get close or pick up firecrackers that failed to ignite or explode
  • Use a long stick with an ember at the end when lighting fire crackers to give you a safe distances

By following these simple tips, one can surely enjoy the fireworks without being afraid of accidents that can turn a fun and enjoyable occasion, into a dreaded one which can leave a mark forever. 

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