Fireworks Problematic For Veterans With PTSD

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Fireworks can trigger a melt down for veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

As Independence Day celebrations kick off, some people are not looking forward to it.

"You know how dogs react at fireworks? They're the same way. It just freaks them out," Tony Masciola said.

Veterans who suffer from PTSD can be set off by loud sounds

"They go comatose. They stop functioning," Masciola said.

Flashbacks can be triggered when fireworks sound similar to gunfire or explosions.

"It's stress. It's fear naturally. Is that one going to hit me?" Masciola said.

At the American Legion in Donelson, Masciola helps vets who may be suffering from the aftermath of war.

He said one of his friends rents a cabin in the woods to get away for July 4th because fireworks bring back bad memories.

"He hears that IED going off, and he was in a humvee and it flipped over. He got burned pretty bad, but not bad, and that's the kind of stuff that gets him," Masciola said.

If you know a veteran who lives in your neighborhood, the best thing you can do is have a conversation with them or let them know the time you will be shooting off fireworks. That will help veterans plan accordingly.

"I know that a lot of the Vietnam guys that I was with that did have a lot of PTSD, they would just put their head phones on and crank Led Zeppelin. I mean they didn't hear it. They loved the music, so that's how they do it." Masciola said. "But you got to talk to them, if you know there's a vet in the area, you have to talk to them."

So as you enjoy July 4th, keep in mind those who served and defended our country.

"What I ask is have a little compassion," Masciola said.

If you have a loved one who is a veteran and may be suffering from a mental health crisis, you can call the Veterans Crisis line at 1-800-273-8255.

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