Despite the hazards of using Fireworks and firecrackers, it might not be easy to withdraw from our tradition of celebrating big occasions as a Filipino. However, there are firecracker safety tips that everyone must remember to protect themselves, especially in the most awaited occasions of the year, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. You surely do not want to ruin the celebration and put yourself in danger by getting injured, right? Here are some precautionary measures which you should remember and practice when using fireworks or firecrackers in spicing up your Christmas and New Year celebration.
Why do Filipinos Celebrate the New Year with Fireworks?
In special and big events in the Philippines, lighting the skies with fireworks became a norm to signify the joy of celebrating an occasion. The well-lit sky with fireworks provides a beautiful spectacle produced by the sparkles of lights which brings happiness to the people as they celebrate an occasion.
But did you know that this practice was influenced by the early Chinese community in the Philippines? In fact, it was invented by the Chinese in 200 BC. The first ever fireworks used were bamboos set on fire. As years have passed, this practice evolved as seen by the beautiful lighting we see in the skies, especially during the countdown for New Year.
The Filipino culture is influenced by many nations because the Philippines was colonized by many nations for a long period. It is believed that Filipinos are using fireworks and firecrackers since the Spanish colonial era but the said lighting were invented and brought to the country by the Chinese.
Since Filipinos are known to be superstitious, aside from the stunning display made by the fireworks, it is a way to drive away bad luck and bad spirits. In connection with the superstition that homes must be fully open to welcome good luck, it is also believed that bad spirits might be attracted as you fully welcome every spirit in your home. Thus, to avoid the attracting bad spirits, loud noises are produced because it is believed that this practice drives away the potential negative auras that may enter in your life for the upcoming year.
Firework-related accidents in the Philippines
Despite its stunning look brought by the sparks of light, it poses danger to the people. Every Christmas and New Year season, firework-related accidents in the Philippines abruptly increase.
Fortunately, in the report of the Department of Health (DOH) at the start of 2022, firework-related injuries in the nation decreased by 11%. Additionally, the 2022 firework-related injury data is 56% lower than the 5-year data by the DOH. Nevertheless, even though data shows that the accident rate is getting lower, something still needs to be done to prevent firework accidents in the Philippines.
The 7 Firecracker Safety Tips for Christmas and New Year
Fireworks and firecrackers are sold as early as Christmas because some Filipinos want to welcome Christmas day with astonishing display of lights to make the event more enjoyable for their family.
If you are one of these individuals who love fireworks as part of celebrating events, here are some of the precautions that you should remember when lighting up firecrackers.
1. Learn about illegal firecrackers
Some localities have additional laws regarding the use of firecrackers. These are passed to protect the community from the harm brought by these banned firecrackers.
These are banned for reasons like the danger outweighs the joy it brings to the users. Aside from the local laws, the Philippine National Police released a general list of allowed and prohibited firecrackers which is implemented all over the country.
2. Never let children use fireworks and firecrackers
Children are still careless compared to adults. In fact, even though adults are more careful, they still get injured by the use of firecrackers. Children are prone to get injured from these especially when they get overjoyed by the stunning sparkles produced by these pyrotechnics.
3. Avoid alcoholic drinks when handling any type of pyrotechnic
Drinking alcohol during occasions is inevitable. However, it causes you to have an unsound mind. This means that you have poorer judgment compared to being sober. If you are drunk or intoxicated with alcohol, it may increase your chances of getting injured because your mind is not alert enough to protect yourself from danger.
In addition, alcohol is flammable. Hence, having contact with alcohol or any flammable substance increases your chances of getting injured because a slight exposure to fire may cause you to suffer from burns as flammable substances are reactive with exposure to fire.
4. Drench used fireworks, firecrackers, and sparklers with water
Sometimes used pyrotechnics still blows up even if it is seemingly used up. This might be caused by the incompletely used-up explosive substance from the pyrotechnic device. With this, as a form of precaution, it is advised that any pyrotechnic should be doused with water after use.
5. Avoid a cigarette lighter or a match when lighting up pyrotechnics
As much as possible, you should use a long stick to light up fireworks, firecrackers, or sparklers because you need to immediately back away as soon as it has lit up.
There is always a danger that the pyrotechnic pops off in an unexpected way so it is best to back away as soon as possible to avoid the unexpected accident that the inconsistent explosion might cause.
6. Light your fireworks, firecrackers, and sparklers in open spaces
Pyrotechnic devices pop as soon as they are lit up. The burst of light randomly shoots up in different areas. That is why it is advised to immediately back away after lighting up a firecracker.
The random bursts may start a fire if it is lightened up in an enclosed area. So, as an additional precaution aside from lighting it up with long match sticks, you should light it up in an open space. You surely want to celebrate your Christmas and New Year safely, right?
7. Know your first aid during a firecracker accident
Even when you employ the tips above, fireworks accidents in the Philippines will still be inevitable even with the utmost care. Hence, it is needed to learn basic first aid in case of a firework accident. Here are some of the first aids to learn as prescribed by the DOH
- Firecracker poisoning – drink 12 egg whites for adults that have been poisoned and 8 in the case of children.
- Eye injury – do not rub the affected eye
- Burns – wash with water and soap then apply gauze
Remember not to apply anything on the injured part as this may cause further inflammation or may worsen the condition of the injury. Just follow the first aid procedure cited above as prescribed by the DOH. After applying this, quickly contact or transport the patient to the nearest hospital in your area. For more information about the nearest hospitals to contact in case of emergency, you may refer to this list released by the DOH.
Alternative to Drive Away Bad Spirits in Your Home
Based on superstitions, there are other ways to drive away bad luck in your home. Aside from firecrackers and fireworks, you may try creating noises through car horns and loud music. The essence of using fireworks and firecrackers is to drive away the negative aura through the loud noise it produces. If that is the purpose, other means to produce noise might be viable to prevent firework accidents in the Philippines.
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