With hospitals under Code White Alert since December 20, the Department of Health (DOH) has made all necessary preparations to prevent and treat fireworks-related injuries. Today, Secretary of Health-Francisco T. Duque III and other DOH officials conducted hospital rounds at Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center and Tondo Medical Center to monitor and ensure preparedness of hospitals in providing emergency medical services for fireworks-related injuries while being mindful of COVID-19 emergency and urgent care.

“We are preparing not just in welcoming 2022, but also in giving our Kababayan a safe and sans-souci New Year. DOH always hopes that celebrations like this will not create untoward accidents. That is why we are relentlessly reminding everyone of safer alternatives to welcoming the New Year through our Iwas Paputok campaign especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, and in ensuring that our hospitals are prepared for fireworks-related injuries,” said Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.

Injuries related to fireworks have been decreasing, from 677 in 2016 to 122 reported cases in 2020. As of 31 December based on the 2021 surveillance, there are a total of 30 fireworks-related injuries reported, which were 76% higher compared to 2020 with 17 cases, but 66% lower than the five-year average of 89 cases during the same time period. Nine (35%) cases occurred in Region 6. There was no fireworks ingestion, stray bullet injury, or death reported this year. Twenty-five (83%) cases were due to illegal fireworks with Boga as the highest number of cases with nine (30%).

As part of the “Ligtas Christmas para sa Health Pilipinas” campaign, the DOH has released promotional posters in all its social media platforms aiming to prevent fireworks-related injuries during the holidays and providing alternatives to fireworks. By avoiding the use of fireworks and the eventuality of injuries, Filipino families can celebrate holidays and hold activities without spending on healthcare due to accidents and most especially avoiding the emotional capital on undesirable effects of accidents. As an alternative, the DOH enjoins Filipinos to continue practicing  healthy behaviors related to the Iwas Paputok campaign and enjoying safer alternatives to fireworks such as participating in community fireworks displays at a safe distance or virtually, and using other noise and light-producing devices like sound systems, bells, pans, or tambourines.

“As we welcome the New Year, let us be mindful that we are still facing the threat of COVID-19 and our best defense against transmission is the Minimum Public Health Standards. We should always mask-hugas-iwas-ventilation, even when you are fully-vaccinated, especially when many celebrations and gatherings are happening during this season. Most of all, avoid participating in any gatherings and immediately isolate yourself when you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms to prevent exposing your loved ones to the virus. Let us help keep everyone safe from any injuries and from COVID-19 as we welcome 2022,” said Secretary Duque.

The DOH wishes all Filipinos a healthy and prosperous New Year – safe from fireworks-related injuries and the threat of COVID-19.

To learn more about tips in preventing fireworks-related injuries, first-aid, and other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on health and safety during the holiday season, please visit https://bit.ly/LigtasChristmas2021FAQs or the Healthy Pilipinas website at www.healthypilipinas.ph.