Fireworks Distressing for Veterans With P.T.S.D.

By: Lanetra Bennett
July 4, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - Fireworks can make the Fourth of July difficult for combat veterans and anyone suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"Any kind of loud noise is distressing to you. Fireworks of course are fireworks. They sound like explosives because they are." Says, Vietnam War Veteran, Joe West.

Some combat veterans stay inside on the Fourth of July and New Year's because the loud sound of fireworks can provoke panic attacks and flashbacks to their time in war.

West says, "They're trying to find a weapon or diving for the ground."

West does not suffer from PTSD, but says he was sensitive to tornado siren checks in the Midwest when he first returned from Vietnam. He says, "The sirens went off and I dove under my car. I was at a gas station. People were looking at me like I was crazy. Your reactions are what keep you alive, and you react before you think about where you're at or what the noise actually was."

Veterans say it's important to be mindful of who's around you before setting off fireworks.

There's a picture of a veteran holding a sign that is circulating on social media. It reads, "Combat veteran lives here. Please be courteous with fireworks."

West says, "If you do know it, please take it into consideration."

Local vendors say there are fireworks available that don't make loud sounds, that can allow those sensitive to noise to still celebrate the holiday.

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