Fireworks can be stressful for military veterans who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Not only that, they can be disturbing for your pets and other first responders, including police officers and firefighters. While Independence Day is certainly a time to celebrate the freedoms that we enjoy, it’s also a time to be mindful of those who fought for it.

In most cities, fireworks are not allowed within the city limits. However, there are cities that allow residents to shoot off fireworks, which can be traumatic for people who suffer from PTSD.

PTSD symptoms include: nightmares, flashbacks, avoidance of situations that bring back memories of the trauma, heightened reactivity to stimuli, anxiety or depression. The severity of PTSD symptoms ranges from person to person, but for a person with severe symptoms, fireworks can be a major trigger.

If you plan on setting off fireworks this 4th of July, please take special care to be aware and considerate of veterans in your area. Many combat veterans state that it’s not necessarily the fireworks themselves that bring up PTSD symptoms, but more of the unexpected noise from fireworks that causes stress and anxiety. To be courteous, give a combat veteran in your area a heads up if you plan on shooting off fireworks so they know to expect them.

Some veterans have put up signs in their yards that read: “Combat veteran lives here, Please be courteous with fireworks.” If you’re a veteran or know someone who would benefit from having one of these signs, they are available for around $15 from www.militarywithptsd.com.

While fireworks and PTSD is a real concern, it doesn’t have to stop us from celebrating freedom that dates back to 1776. If you choose to set off fireworks, be courteous to those around you, and have a safe and fun holiday.

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