“Code white alert” up in public hospitals
CEBU, Philippines — In anticipation of possible firecracker-related accidents, the Department of Health (DOH)-7 has raised the “code white alert” for all public hospitals until January 5.
The alert status means that government-owned and DOH-retained medical facilities must be ready and should preposition their personnel and supplies or equipment especially for treating firecracker-inflicted injuries.
DOH-7 Medical Officer Dr. Shelbay Blanco said the agency has met with the chiefs of hospitals and their representatives to discuss the preparations this holiday season.
He said the DOH-7 has declared the code white alert directing hospital administrators to reinforce their staff and to prepare all the needed resources.
Though DOH only has supervision over public hospitals, Blanco said private hospital owners are also advised and encouraged to do so.
The DOH-7, for its part, reactivates its Operation Center under the supervision of the agency’s Health Emergency Management Staff (HEMS) to monitor related incidence and provide assistance, if necessary.
Blanco, cluster head of DOH7-HEMS, said a “skeletal” force will be manning the center 24/7 this holidays, which is supposed to be a no work for government offices.
The health department reiterated that it strives to aim for zero-casualty, however, it anticipates that there will be children who might lured into playing with firecrackers and might get injured.
Blanco said the age group with the highest incidence of firecracker-related injuries range from 10 to 14 years old.
He strongly advised parents and guardian to keep watch of their children and educate them of the harmful effects of firecrackers.
The DOH-7 has been promoting its campaign dubbed “S.A.F.E.R.” holidays this Christmas and New Year.
S.A.F.E.R. means strengthen restrictions on firecracker use; alcohol limitations; food and beverage watch; emergency precautions; and responsible merrymaking.
“Firecrackers are being restricted. The Philippine National Police is also monitoring its use. And so, avoid illegal firecrackers. We encourage communities to have their community fireworks display instead,” Blanco said.
In 2017, at least 37 individuals from Cebu suffered from burns while six others got eye injuries, according to a DOH-7 data.
Blanco said there has been a decrease of recorded injuries as compared to the data in 2016, after the government campaigned for community-based fireworks display.
“The households can also opt for alternatives like using torotot, kitchen wares to make noise to usher in the holidays and festivities or just use fountain, among others,” he said.
Cebuanos traditionally use firecrackers and fireworks believing that its noise can drive away evil spirits and bad luck. (FREEMAN)