SIOUX CITY, Iowa ( KCAU) – It’s just a matter of days before Siouxland skies are filled with fireworks and the streets are filled with celebrations.
However, the 4th of July can be troubling for people dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, and if the month of June is any indication, Sioux City Police said the holiday will be a very busy day for fireworks.
“Fireworks are very stimulating. There’s a lot to see. There’s a lot to hear. Everybody is enjoying themselves but for veterans, it can be triggering,” Kevin Erickson, a U.S. Army Veteran, said.
Erickson served in Afghanistan. He said when he first returned home, he found fireworks troubling but eventually learned to deal with them.
South Sioux City Police Lieutenant, Chris Chernock, said that’s not the case for some veterans he served with.
“Some of these guys and women that are coming home don’t ever get used to it, and it’s something they just have to endure, or they try to leave the area or try to medicate. It’s not something you get desensitized to. It’s just something they have to endure year after year,” Chernock added.
The sights and sounds of fireworks can serve as a trigger for some veterans and people dealing with PTSD.
“The loud noises and bangs can cause hypervigilance, panic attacks, and can even cause some flashbacks to that point in time of the traumatic event that they may have experienced,” Erickson said.
Erickson adds the 4th of July is a time of celebration and people should do that.
He said people should communicate with their neighbors to let them know when fireworks will be set off and ensuring boundaries are being respected when doing so.
Chernock added that fireworks being set off unexpectedly, like days prior to the 4th of July, is the most difficult part of the holiday for people dealing with PTSD.