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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Ocala Fire Rescue offers tips to help veterans affected by fireworks

As residents and visitors across Marion County prepare to celebrate the new year, Ocala Fire Rescue is offering several tips to help make New Year’s Eve more inclusive for veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

PTSD can occur after a person experiences trauma including, but not limited to, the stress of combat, abuse, violence, assault, and putting one’s life on the line as a first responder. For many veterans who served the country, the loud explosion of fireworks can trigger their PTSD.

In a social media post, Ocala Fire Rescue shared the following tips to help make the New Year’s celebration more enjoyable for those with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder:

  • Find out the location of the fireworks and let the person with PTSD know ahead of time so that they have time to prepare.
  • Establish a safe space for them, so they can attend your get-together.
  • Provide them with earplugs, headphones, and music. Noise-canceling headphones can lessen the impact of the loud fireworks.
  • Celebrate in a different way, and get away from the location where the fireworks are scheduled to take place.
  • Be kind to yourself and others. Give permission to those with PTSD so they may go home early, and let others know that they have PTSD.

Ocala Fire Rescue also provided additional tips for veterans and other individuals with PTSD:

  • Cover your ears – Use earplugs or headphones to block out noise or listen to music.
  • Accept your reactions – Don’t be self-critical since it is normal to struggle with the disruptive noise.
  • Practice grounding – Use mindfulness tools such as breathing and sitting with your back against the wall.
  • Get away if possible – Leaving the area where fireworks are going off is a great option.
  • Call for help – People in your support system will be happy to talk you through it.

For more information, visit Ocala Fire Rescue’s Facebook page.