Local veterans service officials are asking residents to be mindful of others while shooting fireworks this Fourth of July.
Putnam County Veterans Services Officer Mark Harris said fireworks and loud noises may trigger post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in combat veterans.
“You have combat-related and non-combat-related PTSD,” Harris said. “For those that are combat-related… sometimes you have triggers for PTSD. Sometimes the sight of the fireworks may be a trigger, or maybe the sounds can be a trigger for those with combat-related PTSD.”
Harris said citizens looking to use fireworks may want to check with neighbors beforehand to avoid setting off any triggers.
“That comes with neighbors knowing neighbors. Be considerate to those that they know were in the military and were possibly combat veterans,” Harris said. “Just remember to consider them before fireworks or invite them. Let them know that you’d like to do fireworks and maybe invite them to be a part of it. Just reach out and be neighbors.”
Harris said spending time with friends or support groups can help residents battling combat-related PTSD symptoms enjoy the holiday.
“Sometimes it’s just getting out or doing some other event at another location, or be a part of it,” Harris said. “Be surrounded with friends. That helps them with support because it puts them in the environment of understanding. Be around friends or just go out and do some other type of event that gets you away from fireworks that are being used for demonstration.”
The United States Marine Corps states unexpected firework blasts at late hours can trigger PTSD in combat veterans. Marines officials encourage veterans to prepare mentally for the holiday and asks others to be mindful of those around them during Fourth of July celebrations.