About 8 million Americans are believed to suffer from PTSD in a given year. The sound from fireworks can trigger those with PTSD due to the loud pops and cracks. Fireworks can remind combat veterans of a gunshot or open fire.
In preparation for the Fourth of July, Military with PTSD is offering free yard signs to veterans that read, “Combat veteran lives here. Please be courteous with fireworks.”
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said it’s important for the families of veterans with PTSD to have a plan set ahead of time. The problem is not only for the 4th, but the several days leading up to the holiday.
If you see a neighbor with the sign up, but want to shoot off your fireworks, be courteous and ask your neighbor if there is a good time, maybe when they aren’t home. It’s even better if you give them the option of joining your festivities as well! You never know if they have an issue with hearing fireworks or not.
With a warning from neighbors, veterans are able to plan and act accordingly. Every case of PTSD is different and veterans should discuss specific coping strategies with their doctors. Potential strategies include going camping around the holiday where fireworks are not allowed, wearing noise canceling headphones, visiting a friend that lives in an area that forbids fireworks, or even therapy dogs.
The signs are helping to make a difference, and may also lead to veterans opening up and talking about PTSD.
Common courtesy can go a long way when it comes to July 4th and our veterans. Talk to your neighbors if they are veteran, or police officers. If you are a police officer or veteran, try to educate those around you.
Any veteran can register to get a sign on the Military with PTSD website. Those interested can also donate to help pay for the signs.