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Fireworks this weekend could trigger PTSD in veterans

Being mindful of our service members this 4th of July weekend
Posted at 9:27 PM, Jul 03, 2024

SINTON, Tx — As July 4th celebrations are about to begin, it's important to remember that the sounds and flashing lights could put some veterans at risk.

In a study by the National Center for PTSD, it was found that 7 out of every 100 Veterans (or 7%) will have PTSD. And holidays like the Fourth of July can be triggering for these veterans.

“The burning smells, the smoke, the explosions, the flashing lights can sometimes be triggering," Rutilio Guzman, a Veterans Service Officer for San Patricio County explained. “An explosion or flashing light was unexpected, and sometimes it can cause involuntary reactions.”

Guzman himself served in the United States Army from 1995 to 2020.

Debra Sanders is the Court Administrator for the County Judge of San Patricio County. But before that she was Administrative Assistant for the Fleet and Family Service Department for the former Ingleside Naval Base. Sanders worked closely with soldiers suffering from PTSD. She also has had family members deal with similar conditions.

“A family member, who was in Vietnam and if there was a show on, a war show on, he would just, zone out," is how Sanders described the symptoms of one family member.

She also said that, “Sudden loud noises and something behind them," are some of the main reasons fireworks can be so triggering for those dealing with PTSD.

Sanders explained further that for families and loved ones who are trying to prepare for the holiday weekend that the biggest risk is unannounced festivities involving fireworks. Mainly, fireworks shot off in neighboring towns or in residential areas without any type of prior notice.

In the event that you or someone you know is dealing with PTSD and have a triggering moment this weekend to take deep breaths, remind yourself that you are in a safe environment, surrounded by those who love you and that they are safe as well and that the moment is only temporary.

For more information, you can find local help through the San Patricio County Veterans Service Office. General information can also be found at the National Center for PTSD website.

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