Greet the New Year with rakes, broomsticks and water, too.
The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday strongly urged merrymakers to immediately clean up the detritus of the New Year revelry to avoid injuries.
Dr. Eduardo Janairo, director of the DOH-National Capital Region, where many firecracker-related injuries were monitored in the last nine days, also advised the public to prepare cleaning materials on New Year’s Eve like rakes and broomsticks with long handles, containers and buckets of water.
“I recommend a community cleanup activity together with local authorities and put all fireworks remnants in one container or bury them in the ground,” said Janairo in a statement, issuing last-minute tips for an accident-free New Year festivities.
He advised the public to avoid stepping on or picking up used firecrackers as they may still explode. “Use a rake or a broomstick with a long handle to sweep remnants of firecrackers,” Janairo said.
Soaking used firecrackers and rejects with water is a must, he said. “Don’t burn them as they may still explode and could still cause serious injuries,” added the DOH official, as the number of injured ahead of the revelry climbed to 173 two days before the New Year.
As of 6 a.m. Sunday, the DOH reported the first case of firecracker ingestion while noting a 20-percent decline in overall firecracker-related injuries compared with last year’s figures.
Assistant Health Secretary Eric Tayag said a 1-year-old boy from San Jose, Bulacan, was found by his mother holding a “piccolo,” one of the most dangerous firecrackers illegally sold in the market, and with firecracker powder in his mouth.
“The boy apparently picked up the firecracker that was accidentally dropped by his 8-year-old cousin,” Tayag said.
Based on its daily monitoring that started on Dec. 21, 171 people were injured by firecrackers while one was hit by a stray bullet.
Of the 173 injuries, 50 percent or 86 cases were monitored in Metro Manila while 9.3 percent or 16 cases occurred in Western Visayas. Five percent or nine cases were reported each in Calabarzon and in Western Mindanao.
Most of the injured were males and 40 percent were children under 10 years old, the DOH said. Also, 50 percent of the cases involved injuries to the hand and 78 percent involved prohibited firecrackers, particularly piccolo, “kwitis,” five-star and triangle.