THE Department of Health (DOH) can say it again—nature took its side. Last year, it attributed the sharp drop in the number of fireworks-related injuries to Tropical Depression Usman, which for several days dropped large volumes of rain. This year, at least in the Visayas where Typhoon Ursula barreled through on Christmas eve, fireworks-related injuries decreased by 63.6 percent. The DOH recorded only four. It was 11 last year.
Nationwide figures last year (Dec. 21, 2018 to Jan. 1, 2019) showed a figure that was 80 percent lower than the five-year average.
The Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of DOH Central Visayas said the four injuries last Dec. 25, 2019 were two from Mandaue City, one from Talisay City and one from Lazi, Siquijor.
The DOH Central Visayas said it had placed all public hospitals in the region under “Code White” starting Dec. 21, 2019. Code White alert means mobilizing hospital manpower—such as surgeons, anesthesiologists, internists, nurses, ophthalmologists—for emergency response. There are also standby teams in hospital dormitories who are on-call when the need arises.
Certainly, though, the trend in fireworks-related injuries over the past five years has been downward; the timely downpour in the past two years only reinforced what could be a waning culture of neighborhood pyrotechnics with government providing areas for much larger shows.
Media coverage of injuries must have helped too; the gory visuals of injuries must have sown public fear and discouraged families from the usual DIY fireworks.
This is a good sign. The dwindling rite of home fireworks during Christmas has spared our families from burning a good share of their money.