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DOH exec asks lawmakers to review firecrackers law

December 27, 2013 4:24pm
As the number of firecracker-related injuries continues to rise during the holiday season, a health official on Friday asked lawmakers to review the law regulating sale, manufacture, distribution and use of fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices.

“We realized the existing laws do not allow local governments, even the country to ban fireworks. This is for our legislators to consider. DOH (Department of Health) will give them evidence whether... it is time to completely ban (firecrackers),” Dr. Eric Tayag said in an interview on GMA News TV's "News To Go" on Friday.

He was referring to Republic Act 7183, which was enacted in 1991.

Also, he said that while there is a ban in some local government units, residents still find ways to use firecrackers.

“Sa Davao completely banned (ang firecrackers) pero meron pa ring injury nung pinulot nung isang 13-taong lalaki ang piccolo,” said Tayag.

“Human behavior kasi dictates na talagang dumidiskarte. Yung listahan na inilabas namin to guide consumers, yun ang ginamit ng mga nagbebenta sa mga ilalabas lang nilang produkto. Pero 'pag binulungan mo, ibibigay sa'yo yung ilegal na paputok na nakatago lang,” he added.

He noted that because of the government's campaign against firecrackers, there is now a lower number of injuries.

“Over the years nakita namin na because of the campaign, because of the law, malaki ang ibinawas. Sa ngayon nagpa-plateau na siya, ang natitirang option is to completely ban them, yun ang extreme measure na tinatawag natin,” he said.

The number of injures recorded in 2011 was 972, in 2012 it was 987, and 904 in 2013.

As of 6 a.m. Friday, the number of fireworks-related injuries was 140.

Tayag believed there need not be a complete ban as limiting the use of firecrackers and fireworks to professionals will be enough.

“A ban can also mean bawal sa residential areas, ipagbawal sa mga bata, so pwede lang sa professional,” he said.

The health official also said that even if the public use only legal firecrackers, accidents still happen.

“There is another facet of using firecrackers, that is accidents. Granting na dekalidad ang paputok, granting na ang gagamit ay hindi bata, accidents happen. There can be a misfire, you might be drinking so yung galaw mo mabagal na. Pwedeng kumakain ng malalagkit, dumikit sa kamay,” he said.

For now, the DOH will continue with its campaign against firecrackers through dance. The latest dance step is accompanied with Katy Perry's song “Roar.”

“Nakita namin na malakas yung recall. Last year, it was deliberate na Gangnam Style ang ginamit namin dahil nabalitaan namin na gagawin itong pangalan ng paputok.

"Kung maunahan kami dun ang maaalala ng tao ay paputok and it will trigger them to buy firecrackers. So inunahan na namin, pag narinig [ang] Gangnam Style, it will trigger them to do safer things rather than paputok,” he said.

“Ngayon Katy Perry's 'Roar,' iyan ay para ma-trigger pag narinig nila DOH is saying we have to be safe this holidays,” he added.

Asked how do they know if the public really associate the song with the campaign, Tayag said they do not know that is why they have plan B, scare tactics.

“Nakahanda kami sa scare tactics. Ilalatag yung surgical instruments, ipapakita namin yung images ng mga naputulan ng kamay at darili,” he said.

First aid

If the revelers still decide to use firecrackers and get injured in the process, Tayag advised the public to immediately wash the wound and bring them to the hospital.

“Kailangan ibabad sa tubig or running water for 10 to 15 minutes. Kung marumi, clean it with soap, cover with dry cloth na hindi yung dumidikit sa sugat, at dalhin sa ospital,” he said.

He said butter, ointment, mayonnaise, or toothpaste should not be applied to a part of the body which was burned as it will only cause infection. He also advised against pricking blisters.

Tayag said doctors will most likely open wounds caused by firecrackers.

“Kahit guhit lang yan bubuksan ng mga duktor titiyakin kung may nabubulok na laman because it takes them time before pumunta sa ospital. Sa bagong taon, maraming mapuputukan but they won't go agad sa ospital kasi madaling araw, they will wait before the sun rises.

"By that time, may nana na yung sugat, there is necrotic tissue, patay na laman. Before you know it tetanus prone na yung nasabugang parte ng katawan,” he said.

He further said if there is a lacerated wound, just press it in order to stop the bleeding and go to the hospital

“Kung me naputol na daliri, put it in ice kaagad ang if you can go to hospital na may magandang surgeon maybe baka maikabit nila yan pero sinasabi namin sa inyo no way are you going to get back your fingers,” said Tayag. Amita O. Legaspi /LBG, GMA News
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