Fireworks Can Trigger PTSD in Veterans

They’re an American tradition on Independence Day, but fireworks are also a worry for many who fought for the liberties this country enjoys.

Omar Teutle served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He’s being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We’re all human beings,” Teutle said. “We all have our triggers.”

He said the spontaneous pop from a firework can be one of those triggers for him. “Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming.”

Veterans’ groups are posting lawn signs across the country, alerting the public to the potential impact of illegal fireworks.

Fran McVey is president of United Veterans Council of Santa Clara County.

“It really can trigger bad memories for someone with PTSD, to hear loud noises and remind them of gunfire,” McVey said.

The Vietnam vet asks families, if they’re going to light up those illegal fireworks, to know who their neighbors are first.

“If you have something planned, reach out and say, ‘Will this bother you?’” Teutle said. “Be courteous. Don’t judge because you might not know what that vet has experienced.”

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