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Be Careful with Your Fireworks

Be Careful with Your Fireworks

Besides the typical, “don’t blow your hand up,” advice there’s something else you might not have considered. Please be understanding with people who have combat PTSD, autism, sensory processing disorder (SPD), and other related conditions. How? The best way is to set your fireworks off in an area that’s not residential. If that’s not possible and someone asks you to stop setting them off, please stop.

What’s the big deal? It’s a little different for each condition. Combat PTSD triggers memories of the battlefield. The explosions and screaming, even if they’re because the people involved are having fun, are enough to trigger the memories of combat to overtake a veteran. Once the memories become active the person is no longer in the present and may not be able to come out and ask nicely for you to please set them off somewhere else. Not all veterans have PTSD but it would be most kind this Monday to assume they do unless told otherwise.

Autism and SPD are similar in that the noise, bright lights, and other chaos surrounding fireworks can simply overwhelm the person. Adults and children both can be impacted by these conditions. The ones worst affected won’t be able to come out and ask you to stop. They’ll be too busy trying to cope. If they have a caregiver that person may come out and ask you to please set your fireworks off elsewhere. It’s important that you do so. Otherwise, you’re subjecting the adult or child to what amounts to a night of torture.

Besides these unique situations, it’s also just a good idea not to set off fireworks in close proximity to residential areas in general. It’s a nuisance to deal with the vibrations from the explosion setting off the car alarms. I’ve never met a cat yet that liked fireworks. Some dogs are fine with them but many cower in terror all night long. It’s really best to avoid setting off loud explosions in places people live. Where else might you set them off?

  • A field that’s not in use for crops where the grass isn’t dry (dry grass poses a massive fire hazard).
  • A large parking lot, away from structures and vehicles which might catch fire if struck.

I highly recommend going to watch your local firework show instead of creating your own. There’s less risk of injury, fire, and a permit has to be obtained prior which requires the show’s hosts to meet reasonable safety standards. It’s scheduled, so anyone who feels they’ll be impacted by the event can plan to be well out of earshot. It’s a win for everyone involved.

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