Posttraumatic Stress in Aging World War II

Inge Bramsen, Henk M. van der Ploeg, and Maarten Boers VU University Medical Center
Journal of Traumatic Stress, Apr2006, Vol. 19 Issue 2, p291-300; , 10p, 1 Chart, 1 Graph

Here is a great article I came across that was very informational.  Please take the time to understand the relationship between PTSD and fireworks.

Little is known about the effects of cumulative trauma and whether traumatized individuals are more vulnerable. In 2000, a fireworks disaster created the possibility to examine this issue among WorldWar II survivors who were part of an ongoing longitudinal study. Between 1998 and 2000 posttraumatic stress increased in disaster exposed respondents as opposed to the control group.War-related reexperiencing and avoidance also increased. The strongest increase occurred in disaster-exposed respondents who had low levels of wartime stress and a slight decrease occurred in those who had high wartime exposure. This unique controlled observation suggests that disasters do increase the levels of posttraumatic stress, and that reactivation of previous traumatic events generally occurs. However, the vulnerability hypothesis was not supported.

Posted by: Jennifer Mount

TNT Company

TNT Company

After reviewing the company website for TNT Fireworks, I was sickened by the fact that there was not information about safety or the possible injuries/effects caused by their products.

What I did find was that, rather than necessary info relating to safety, all that had to offer were size of effect (the color part), coupons to purchase the product, and where to buy the product. Granted there was a small sentence stating that TNT works with the local government and promotes educational programs in schools.

This is great and all, but what seems to be more disturbing is that rather than putting safety information on their site for references, they promote what they do for charities and the youth of today.  So often you see companies showing a soft side so the have the good publicity, but when there is a fall out or injury occurs from a product they produce, they do not own up to what has happened.  Essentially using the good they do as a crutch. 

You can review the site here:

New Year’s Fireworks Permitted in Anchorage

I found an article dealing with a time slot allowing fireworks in Anchorage, AK that I felt made a very good point with regard to knowing how to operate fireworks. 

Granted, I know our project is focusing on the effects on war veterns and pets, we also touch on the injuries that are caused by fireworks and the illegal use of.

In this article, it takes about how allowing fireworks to be used during the Holidays at the very least, will give parents a chance to show their children how to operate fireworks safely.  We see all to often, the things that become untouchable cause the most amount of impact.  I remember early in the class that, the use of fireworks on New Year’s Eve or independence days as being the problem, but the times in between those. 

One area this article touched on the was the wildlife scene in the area, which of course makes up a lot of moose.  The ordiance laid out in the article, viewable below, outlines where you are able to use fireworks during the holiday to minimize the amount of stress it may cause to the wildlife.

• in any central business district core, primarily the Downtown area
• in any property zoned as part of the public lands and institutions district
• within 500 feet of any hotel, motel, health care or assisted living facility, library, school, or church
• within 500 feet of any gas station
• in any location designated as a "noise-sensitive zone"
• in any location determined by the municipality to pose a fire danger

This blog was written with the use of the following article:

Avondale, AZ Restricts Use of Fireworks

According to, residents of Avondale AZ will not longer be able to use fireworks, expect for what they call the deregulated kind.

The deregulated kind include snappers, snap caps, snakes, and sparklers; not to mention a handful of other items.

This law went into effect on Monday Dec 1st with a 6-1 council vote. As the Mayor states had local control been more effective in control the use of fireworks, this type of law would not have come to pass the way it has.

Avondale, AZ in using this law in hopes of showing just how far they will go to in order to stop the use of fireworks as well as show legislation that they can’t be pushed around. 

Not all of the residents are happy with this law that has been passed, not even Jason Colt who operates firework stands there. Colt cites 1 death and 40 injuries due to the use of fireworks and compares them to the number of bicycle  accidents in 2008.  There is not comparison to the difference, but what is not being looked at is the number of veterans/pets that are affected due to the disruption they cause. 

The law passed is not one that carries a small fine either, but is looked at with criminal intent making those liable for the fine and emergency response cost.

This Blog was written with the use of the below article.

Firework Factories

After 491 people voted, Gharb has decided against building any additional firework factories in their area.  The local council called a meeting in response to the tragedy that struck last September when six people were killed by an explosion at a fireworks factory.

The vote showed that sixty percent of the population was against granting any new permits for these factories while forty percent were in favor.

The vote was called because a few of the council members had conflicts of interest and the government was interested in seeing what the people in the village thought. There is one pending application for a firework factory at the moment.

Though the people have voted, no decision has been made.  After the vote is discussed and presented to the authorities, there will be no new firework factories built in that area.

Dangerous Fireworks Imported

A Kansas fireworks company, Jake’s Fireworks, is being fined $100,000 for importing consumer fireworks that don’t meet federal regulations. This settlement resolves some allegations that this company and its affiliates have imported more than 200,000 consumer fireworks over two years (2006 and 2007) that were hazardous and did not meet safety regulations.

Jake’s Fireworks affiliates are listed as Far East Imports Inc. and Wholesale Fireworks Enterprises LLC, in Kansas.      And a bit closer to home, from Aberdeen, WA, is Pacific Northwest Fireworks Inc.

When the fireworks were confiscated and tested upon entering the united states, they were found to have too much of the chemical which causes blast of the firework to be deemed safe. 

The fireworks that have not yet been sold are to be destroyed within the next six months or these companies will face further charges.

Because the companies reached a settlement, they are denying that that they broke any federal laws.

You can read an article about this here:

Firework Safety Study

In 2007, a study was conducted by Audrey Smargiassi, a professor at the University of Montreal Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, to examine the emissions of fireworks.  She wanted to examine the composition of the gases that were emitted along with concentration of particles.  What was unique about her study was that she collected her data below the fireworks, at the distance where spectators usually stand.  Studies previous to this one collected their data from rooftops in the surrounding area from where the fireworks had been set off.

The study was conducted during nine separate firework shows at La Ronde amusement park where an international firework competition is conducted each year.

Smargiassi found that the particles emitted from these fireworks were incredibly small and therefore much more likely to enter the respiratory system.  The amusement park recommended that people with respiratory problems leave the park during these firework shows.  Smargiassi recommends that people with cardiovascular problems also avoid the smoke from fireworks.

The particles that cause problems were primarily potassium, manganese, titanium, chlorine, and aluminum.

To read more about this study, visit:

New Chines Safety Strategy

In 1993, fireworks were banned completely in Beijing but in 2005, the bureau said fireworks could be lit between Spring Festival Eve and the Lantern Festival.According to a document released by the city's safety watchdog, all fireworks stalls within the Fifth Ring Road will be numbered with a 13-digit code to help with monitoring and management.And the arch-roofed sheds in which residents gathered to buy fireworks will be replaced with fireproof stalls.The exhibition and sales area and the stock area in the stalls will be separated by fire-proof materials. Low temperature and explosion-proof lights will also be mandatory."Electronic eyes" will also play an important role in fireworks management. The bureau is encouraging all fireworks stalls to be equipped with closed-circuit television cameras, which some sellers pioneered a few years earlier.

Affect of Fire works on veterans

On the fourth of July. Many veterans tend to escape from fireworks. Theses veteran have old experiences from minefield explodes.  They find heading to quiet campsites, small family gatherings or the basement with earphones, the best for them and they do that because they usually pre-stage their dreams before bed, visualizing different endings.
 During the 4th of July depression, anxiety and drinking happened to increase more, According to two-tour military psychologist who manages the PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), says” This time of year stressful—period.  Not to mention that the fourth of July also, is a huge flashback for pain and suffer that veteran suffered too.  According to Sardo, Many veterans are bothered less by the booms than the deeper questions the displays raise about what it means to go to war and lose a limb, friends or a view of the world as a healthy place.

Defining Your Sustainable Philosophy

Spatial and temporal equity are essential factors with regards to any sustainable philosophy, but what factors lead to and are consequences of its implementation? If sustainability does generate the most net utility and even necessitates the long-term survival of the human species, how must a society compensate for and be persuaded to abide by its policies?

It is human nature to seek out short-term prosperity and ‘discount’ future needs, particularly if the benefits of the self-sacrifice are completely intangible. For example, the effects of global climate change will likely not dramatically affect anyone alive today, therefore, why should we even care? For intergenerational equity and even equality to exist, market incentives must drive consumer demand on the micro and macro scale.

The social constructs required for any significant movement towards sustainability encompasses social cohesion at profound and historically supreme levels. It must be of singular importance starting from the individual and the regional population, up through the business and industrial sectors, and onwards to the international community.

The economy represents perhaps the most critical component of an implementation strategy. For the common person, the effect on their pocketbook embodies their most significant and palpable concern, for which the vast majority are not willing to negotiation. Therefore, every strategy should avoid the two primary types of market failures: the destruction of public goods and externalities.

The destruction of public goods is a crucial element for sustainability. The Tragedy of the Commons explains that unregulated extraction of a finite resource may be advantageous in the short-term, but overexploitation can be devastating in the long run. The ‘tragedy’ is that each individual enterprise is utilizing a finite resource of which many are dependant, thus, its depletion has far-reaching consequences.

Externalities, or the indirect rippling effect(s) of an action onto a third party, can negatively impact numerous facets of the environment and a sustainable philosophy. For example, an oil refinery may reap the most profit by dumping waste byproducts into nearby waterways. But subsequently, this pollution may adversely affect agriculture downstream that depends on clean water to nourish its crops. In this sense, by ignoring the externalities of their enterprise, the oil refinery maximizes market success by reducing their costs to the consumer. In the current market-based capitalist society, such action may be frowned upon, but competition encourages, if not necessitates it.

Currently, the “shadow price” as its known (i.e. – the ‘real’ cost of a product as defined by its externalities), does not trickle its way down to the consumer, but rather gets swallowed-up by the unfortunate third party bystander. This means that consumers are benefiting from a less costly product whose production may encompass immoral practices that are harmful to the environment. More significantly however, these consumers purchase that product because it is less expensive, thereby encouraging companies to ignore their externalities.

This truism resides on the fact that for sustainability to achieved and market failures to be avoided internalization of these externalities must be imposed by legislative policy. This would discourage consumers from purchasing expensive and environmentally destructive products and consequently encourage producers to pursue environmentally friendly and sustainable alternatives.

There is no perfect method for the implementation of a long-term sustainable solution. Significant social, economic, and moral challenges must first be overcome before the Tragedy of the Commons may be alleviated. While the most successful strategies will be implemented at the global level, inspiration must first hail from individual action.

For further insight into the tragedy of the commons:

For Further insight into Externalities:

Understanding Fireworks Through Thermodynamics and Chemistry

For centuries, fireworks have produced intense feelings of excitement, joy, and wonder. But what chemical and thermodynamic properties actually describe the sites and sounds of this process? In this post I will describe the basic chemical processes occurring within the combustion of fireworks as well as the ensuing visual displays.

First, in order to understand the underlying principles, you must understand the basic structure of a firework. Located within the firework are 4 primary components: an oxidizing agent, a reducing agent, a coloring agent, and a binding agent. The oxidizing agent supplies the oxygen necessary for combustion, the reducing agent burns the oxygen released by the oxidizer, the coloring agent absorbs the energy and reradiates photons of a specific wavelength, and the binders maintain the intermolecular structure and organization of these agents.

What processes are responsible for the firework’s explosive power? The answer lies within the chemistry of the materials. In order for combustion to occur, there must be oxygen. Oxygen is supplied to the firework by way of an oxidizer that may come in the form of a nitrate, chlorate, or perchlorate. Potassium nitrate (KNO3), the active oxidizer found in black powder, is able to supply two of its three oxygen atoms per molecule as defined by the balanced oxidation equation for potassium nitrate (1). Potassium perchlorate (KClO4) on the other hand, is able to supply all 4 oxygen atoms because the chlorine atom can bond an additional oxygen atom, thereby making it a superior oxidizer (2).

(1): 4 KNO3 → 2 K2O + 2 N2 + 5 O2

(2): 4 KClO4 → 4 KCl + 8 O2

Next, the reducing agents rapidly bond with the free oxygen molecules to create stable compounds. These stable compounds are found after combustion has occurred and act as a benchmark for understanding the total release of energy. All molecular bonds have a quantity of energy contained within them, known as their bond energy. When a chemical reaction occurs that results in molecules with a different bond energies being created, the difference in bond energies describes the amount of total energy released. Therefore, it is this exothermic release of energy that we recognize as the firework’s explosion. This process of oxidation and reduction can be demonstrated by the balanced chemical equation for the combustion of black power:

2 KNO3 + S + 3 C → K2S + N2 + 3 CO2.

How then, can different colors be created through processes like these? Once again the answer lies within the type of materials used. All materials absorb radiation and then reradiate in back out to achieve an equilibrium. When we imagine the atomic structure of an atom, it contains protons, neutrons, and electrons. The electrons circle around the nucleus (composed of the neutrons and protons) at different ranges known as orbitals.

When an atom is stable, its electrons circle around the nucleus in their “ground state.” This means that the electrons flow around the nucleus in the lowest possible stable orbital associated with that particular atom. If however, the atom is unstable, then it is in an “excited state” and the electrons circle around the nucleus at higher orbitals. The emission of light occurs when an atom’s electrons decrease orbital levels from an excited state to a less energetic or ground state.

When different elements decrease orbital states, they release different wavelengths of light, thus displaying the ROYGBV spectrum of color. Red hues for example, which have a wavelength of approximately 652nm, are produced by the decrease of electron states of strontium or lithium compounds, whereas sodium compounds, which have a wavelength of approximately 615nm, produce yellows, and coppers compounds produce blues.

The molecular and thermodynmic properties of fireworks is extremely complex and influenced by numerous contextual factors. The oxidation and subsequent reduction of the right chemicals can result in not only large concussive explosions, but also dazzling displays of light. By manipulating these fundamental principles of material science you can create a truly awe-inspiring chemical performance.

For continued inquiry please explore, “The Chemistry of Fireworks” by Michael S. Russel, found online at:

Integral Ecology: Finding a Spiritual Connection to the Environment

Humankind’s connection to nature is all too often viewed through anthropocentric lenses. We, as a population, consistently overlook our necessary dependence upon not only the finite material yield of the earth, but also the more macrocosmic interrelations of our planet. We harvest earthly resources, dominate the landscape with agriculture and industry, and pollute our rivers and streams with little understanding of the long-term additive and possibly multiplicative consequences. More fundamentally however, as our lives becomes busier and our relationships with the environment more distant, we often fail to recognize any potential spiritual connection to nature. We habitually develop our conceptions of self within social and political frameworks that marginalize the value of the natural environment beyond its exploitative capacity.

In comparison to my own individual upbringing and relationship with the environment, I understand how it can be easy, even personally beneficial, to ignore the true importance of environmental wellbeing. Within the current structure of society ‘doing the right thing’ may require extra effort, money, time, and even knowledge that many cannot afford. A significant factor that I believe contributes to environmental complacency is the fact that the vast majority of environmental degradation accrued by the individual is not directly witnessed by that individual. For example, everyday we are provided with the option of recycling. Whether we choose to recycle or not, rarely has any tangible impact on our daily lives. We are not witness to the animals caught in plastic soda containers, or the ecosystems poisoned by the chemicals leaking from batteries, or the extras trees cut down for paper supplies. It is our disconnection with the environment that allows us to live in blissful ignorance of the true harm we may be causing.

Integral Ecology is an environmental philosophy that aims to provide a comprehensive perspective regarding issues of environmental and social concern. It can be applied to the study of subjective and objective aspects of organisms in relationship to their intersubjective and interobjective environments. Of central focus are the four-quadrants through which these environments are viewed: the “I,” the “we,” the “it,” and the “its.”

The framework of integral ecology categorizes perspective and experience on multiple levels, differentiating between the individual (subjective “I”) and the collective (intersubjective “we”) consciousnesses. Similarly, this definition extends to the scientific world as a differentiation between the objective microcosmic realm (“it”), and the interobjective macrocosmic realm (“its”). This philosophy seeks to create a comprehensive approach to understanding the environment as an infinitely interconnected system supported not simply through objective science, but also through subjective human experience. It is this subjective human experience that must be developed in order for a more respectful and harmonious relationship with nature to be realized.

The ever-growing complexity of our lives today makes it harder and harder to live a life in close connection to nature. Everyday we are forced to make decisions regarding environmentalism, whether we can directly see the consequences of our actions or not. Even though contemporary tradition appears to foster the concept that man can, and even should, exploit nature, it must be understood that in order to achieve a sustainable future we must live in cooperation with the environment. This begins by understanding ecological functions and appreciating every aspect of nature for its intrinsic value. Sure enough through understanding our society will be better able to embrace, respect, and value the natural environment for what its truly worth.

For more insight regarding Integral Ecology visit the website at:

Applying Multiple Intelligences

Understanding “intelligence” as multilayered and multifaceted is fundamental in the construction of a successful blog and website. Because scientific study into human cognition has debunked the standard “bell curve” view of intelligence, we must adopt a more complex and deliberate form of rhetoric. By understanding the concept of “multiple intelligences,” it is possible to optimally utilize the “seven levers of mind change,” as well as the “four entities of mind change,” towards a more effective blog and website.

The seven levers of mind change (reason, research, resources and rewards, real world events, representational redescriptions, resonance, and resistance (Gardner; 15-19)) are the primary conduits through which the human brain accepts a change of opinion, and the four entities of mind change (concepts, stories, theories, and skills (Gardner; 19-22)) are the primary agents of change for each lever.

In this way, we can optimize the effectiveness of each lever by employing the four entities of mind change for each. This would be a very effective method because, as claimed by Gardner, “presenting multiple versions of the same concept can be an extremely powerful way to change someone’s mind” (10). Therefore, for each bit of information our blog/website tries to impart on the viewer, all seven levers of mind change should employed, each of which is corroborated by the four entities of mind change.

Now, getting to intelligence: Certain forms of intelligence are largely inaccessible through the internet medium (bodily-kinesthetic for example), while other are much more accessible (such as linguistic). In order for a blog/website to be successful, it must appeal to as many intelligences as possible because, also according to Gardner, “the more of an individual’s intelligences you can appeal to when making an argument, the more likely you are to change a person’s mind, and the more minds you are likely to change” (30). Therefore, on top of the seven levers and four entities, the blog should attempt to appeal to analyst, noncanonical, personal, and existentialist intelligences, as well as each of their subcatagories.

While the optimal utilization of multiple intelligences may appear a daunting task, it can be accomplished in very subtle ways. Advertising agencies employ these tricks-of-the-trade on a regular basis and are able to influence society on very powerful subconscious levels. By understanding intelligence and its multiple levels you possess a persuasive tool for effective mind change and the potential to create a highly successful website and blog.

Think again!

Fireworks have a lot of negative effects. Some fireworks are legal and some are illegal. It is important to know these things if you are going to let off fireworks. Please read all of the important information because you can save a person’s life or help a person from getting injured. You can also help our environment. The next four sentences deals with illegal fireworks and their protocol.
• Cherry bombs, M-80s, M-100s, and silver salutes are all illegal explosives in all states
• Any firecrackers containing more than 50 milligrams (about 1/6th the weight of a typical aspirin tablet) of powder are illegal to use in any state.
• To identify LEGAL FIREWORKS, look for a manufacturer's name on each item or on the box in which they were packaged.
• If you suspect anyone selling or using illegal fireworks, you can call 1-888-ATF-BOMB to report it
The following website can help you determine what fireworks are illegal in your state:

If you live in Oregon and must let off fireworks please read the following information From the Oregon State Fire Marshal:
Legal fireworks produce only smoke, sparks or fire. Examples are base fountains, cone fountains, wheels and ground bloom flowers.
Illegal fireworks explode, eject balls of fire, fly into the air or travel more than six feet on the ground or 12 inches into the air. Examples are missile rockets, aerial spinners, mortars, bottle rockets, firecrackers and roman candles. M80s, M100s and cherry bombs are considered explosive devices (not fireworks) and are illegal as well.
Also, be aware that fireworks are prohibited on all beaches and at all state parks in Oregon

This is a video from the Portland Fire Bureau in Oregon:

Did you know that fireworks are dangerous to not only the people lighting them but, the people watching them. Fireworks can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss, reduced or lost vision, high blood pressure, heart attacks and, respiratory problems like asthma or bronchitis. There is also toxins that are released when they are lit that can cause cancer. Not to mention that there is 1000 t of waste annually.

Fireworks can affect our environment worldwide. The main ingredient in fireworks is gunpowder and mixed with other ingredient gives off a reaction that is generally solid. These solids consist of metal oxides and occasionally chlorides. This mixture is what pollutes the air. Fireworks also contribute to water supply contamination and even acid rain. Our pets and the people that fight for our country in the military are also affected. So the big question. Do we really need fireworks? Think again?

Traumatised Vets need our support...

To most Americans, celebrating with their families on the Fourth, fireworks represent one gigantic surge of pyrotechnic patriotism, awing small children and grownups alike as they soar into the air and explode with fabulous colors and ear-popping, ground-shaking reverberations. It's America's birthday, after all, but in place of the cake and candles we get...concerts, barbecues, parades and FIREWORKS!

For the combat veteran, however...and only approximately 11% of our population has served in the military...fireworks can remind them a little too much of the sights and sounds of combat. Many combat veterans, especially those with PTSD, find themselves dreading the Fourth and the fireworks in particular; and often find themselves unable to explain this (satisfactorily) to family and friends. Quite a few vets make plans beforehand to "head to their bunkers," and not come out until it's over. Others talk about how their own veteran dads, growing up, spent the holiday every year, in a haze of drugs or alcohol, waiting out the celebration. Some veterans feel bad about not being able to join in the celebration, but they can't; and some families of affected combat veterans wonder whether to leave their veteran home while they go enjoy the show...or miss the celebration themselves while not being able to bridge the gap with what their loved one is experiencing.
To support these traumatized veterans, support groups have put up websites like the to help these vets express how they feel and help them be heard so they can create awareness and deal better with this trauma:

“A great comment in a panel discussion by veterans on re-integration, where one veteran was discussing how being asked the wrong questions can put him on the defensive and elicit an undesired response, thanks in part to military training and the normal reaction to being backed into a corner. "When rifles are no longer involved, words can become your bullets," he said.
For anyone who's ever been on either the "giving" or the "receiving" side of a difficult, heated conversation where it felt like life or identity was at stake, it's easy to understand exactly what he meant. It's also, obviously, not a prescription for harmonious communication that resolves issues effectively. For that, very different communication styles and skills are necessary. We try to cover that here from time to time, when we find someone with a worthwhile and constructive point of view -- and experience in the trenches, either as a veteran or a spouse of a veteran with PTSD.”

By Abhi Batra

Drumming Instead of Fireworks

Drumming Instead is a grassroots organization started in 2010 to promote the act of drumming instead of setting off fireworks on holidays. According to their website:

"Drumming Instead is a grassroots project, which grew out of a concern for our world and its inhabitants, along with a desire to continue some form of celebration instead of fireworks. Many of us have fond memories of our youth and being taken to watch fireworks, whether that be at special events or holiday celebrations. We may have similar memories that have continued well into adulthood.

With reports of the devastating results of human choices on our environment, it is very clear that we need to make far better choices from now on. One of those choices is to replace fireworks with drumming.
Fireworks utilize our natural resources, basically, for entertainment. This form of entertainment is a luxury we can no longer afford. In addition to using resources, the fireworks pollute the air, ground, and water. They also create noise pollution: they create unnaturally harsh explosive sounds, which frighten, even terrorize, wild and domestic animals. The highly sensitive hearing of non-human animals may be damaged by the explosive sounds. Firework debris, which ends up in our streams, lakes, and oceans, may be consumed by marine animals, which could result in sickness or death.

In addition, there are health concerns. There are often increases in reports of asthma attacks around the times of fireworks, not to mention the direct injuries, even deaths, caused by fireworks (there are thousands of fireworks-related injuries annually in the U.S.). Fireworks are also responsible for the fire damage caused by the thousands of fires they cause annually.

As the dominant species on this planet, we humans have an inherent responsibility to make better choices for this world. We can no longer make selfish choices for our own entertainment at the expense of the planet and its inhabitants.

Our wish is to replace the tradition of fireworks (which many recognize as obsolete) with community drumming. This could be in the form of drumming circles or drumming parades/marches, etc. Families, neighborhoods, or entire cities can gather with their drums for special occasions. The drums could range from small bongo drums to large Taiko drums. Instead of just being observers, everyone present has the opportunity to be a participant. While our focus is drumming, other wooden percussion instruments could be used, such as wood blocks."

To read more about this organization and what learn what you can do to help, please visit

Posted By: Jessica Hadduck

Banned fireworks give Midlands soldier a PTSD flashback

The armed forces of the United States risks their lives in faraway places that we have never seen in order to protect our country and the people of other countries at the same time. Their lives are dedicated to keeping and spreading freedom around the world. They spend a lot of their time avoiding roadside bombs and dodging bullets, all things that make sudden, loud noises. In part because of these experiences, many soldiers returning home to the United States are afflicted by post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s important to remember, too, that the United States is not the only place on earth where members of the military are fighting for freedom, peace, and the protection of an entire country’s people. And it is also important to remember that American soldiers are not the only military members who leave active warfare and return home to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. This is important because fireworks are not unique to the United States, but are used in countries around the world.

Fireworks can cause “painful memories for veterans home from war,” according to an article on, titled “Banned fireworks give Midlands soldier a PTSD flashback.” Sandler, the author of the article, explained that a soldier with PTSD suffered a flashback attack on the weekend of July 4th when fireworks were set off in his neighborhood. Sandler quoted Army Specialist Chase Brown as saying, “I didn’t really understand what was going on around me because in my mind I wasn’t here. In my mind I was in Iraq.”

It isn’t that fireworks should be completely banned and that no one should be allowed to enjoy them on the Fourth of July, for Olympic celebrations, and on other holidays. But shooting off illegal fireworks in residential areas can cause a lot of emotional distress to others, especially veterans who have risked their lives for the very people in their neighborhood. Out of courtesy, we should think about who we might be affecting before we act.

Read Sandler’s article at

Posted by (Abdulelah Alruwaished)

Fireworks-Related Injuries & Deaths in the United States

Imagine it … you are out at a family barbecue for the Fourth of July or Memorial Day, and you have purchased some illegal fireworks to shoot off after it gets dark outside to entertain your family, especially the kids. You have also purchases sparklers for the kids and you know that your 5-year-old niece will love the different colored sparklers you bought, too.

Wait! Before you light them, consider an article posted on The Trauma Foundation website. The article states, “8,800 people were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries. Four people died from these injuries. Fifty percent of fireworks injuried occurred among children 14 years and younger. Seventy-five percent of fireworks injuries occurred among boys as compared to 25% among gilrs. More than half of the injuries (66%) involved burns; the hands and fingers (32%), eyes (21%), and the head and face (17%) were the part so the body most frequently injured.”

Even more frightening is that a sparkler can actually reach a temperature of up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Little children all over the United States can be seen running around with sparklers, practically unsupervised. Do parents know how dangerous they can be?

Fireworks are so dangerous and cause so many injuries that injuries have cost approximately $100 million annually in the United States. The article also has a map of states that have banned the sale of fireworks, and these states have also reported diminished firework related injuries in emergency rooms. Individual states can also place restrictions on what types of fireworks are able to be bought. What is the best way to stop little kids from running around with sparklers? The article states that federal regulations are needed, but I think education is the best way to stop the spread of injury. Parents need to understand the real dangers to their children!

Check the article out at

Posted by (Abdulelah Alruwaished)

Two shot in Overton Park amid families, fireworks

Urban legends are stories that are spread throughout generations and cultures, usually falsehoods that contain some element of horror or danger. That’s what masking gunfire with fireworks is, right? It’s just an urban legend that when fireworks are planned, people get shot because the shooters are using the sound of the fireworks to cover up the gunfire. Even though fireworks are loud, they cannot cover up the noise of a gun.

Nikki Bussey, in “Two shot in Overton Park amid families, fireworks,” came up with some support for the urban legend. Bussey wrote, “A man shot a woman, then turned the gun on himself in Overton Park on Friday afternoon while families picnicked nearby and children frolicked in a playground.” What was the scariest part of the story? That all of those families and children did not hear a thing! While some witnesses said they recognized the sounds as gunshots, other witnesses “sat at picnic tables, seemingly unaware of what had happened.” Memphis police Major Terry Landrum told Bussey the event could have been orchestrated to happen during the fireworks for that reason. According to the article, Landrum stated, “Occasionally, you’ll hear a firecracker [he said]. That can mask the sound of a gunshot.”

When fireworks are set off during city, town, or other major celebrations, some element of security is somehow enforced or there is at least a police presence. But when illegal fireworks are shot off in backyards, there is no way to tell if it was just someone having fun or if someone is trying to mask gun shots. In any case, not allowing for fireworks to be sold to the general public would certainly take the guess work out of it!

Read Bussey’s article on masking gunfire with fireworks at

Posted By (Abdulelah Alruwaished)

Caregiving: Fireworks and PTSD

There are a lot of noises that can bother veterans and bring back anxiety and painful memories of their time in combat. In an article on UPI, Alex Cukan pointed out that “thunderstorms, construction blasts and fireworks” are all potential triggers for bringing back horrific memories to veterans. The noises can result in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that include “intrusive recollections, distressing dreams, feeling the trauma is recurring, difficulty falling or staying asleep, irritability and outbursts of anger, hypervigilance and exaggerated startle response.” Part of the problem with fireworks is that they can be unexpected. When large celebrations that involve fireworks are planned, and individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder are able to avoid the scene. The article even gave some suggestions if someone lives close to firework displays that could exacerbate current conditions, such as going to see a movie in a loud, air-conditioned theater. But, when fireworks are not planned, and people just decide to shoot them off in their own neighborhoods, people with PTSD are not able to make arrangements to avoid the loud, unexpected noises that could potentially trigger a bad response.

Veterans are not the only people who may suffer adverse effects from fireworks being let off without permission, permits, or notice. The article pointed out anyone who has been the victim of “a traumatic event that either involved the threat of death or great bodily injury to another or themselves – from war, mugging, cancer, car accident,” could suffer from PTSD, and their reactions could “involve fear, helplessness, or horror.” So while veterans may be the most likely or most recognized candidates for PTSD, a neighbor who lives in your neighborhood who was a victim of a violent crime involving a gun could also suffer the same as a veteran if you shoot off fireworks without thinking about it first.

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Posted by (Abdulelah Alruwaished)

Keeping Your Pet Safe During Fireworks

Fireworks upset pets as a result of the noise, smell of sulfur, and flashing lights. The article below offers ten steps to ensure your pet stays safe and happy during the holidays.

1. Know when fireworks will be happening and how they'll impact your home. Check that your pets' ID tags and microchips are in date. If your pet does go running off during fireworks events, it's much easier to be able to identify its ownership with these features.

2. Desentisation of noises helps to prevent a phobia of loud noises, use a cd like Sounds Scary, well before the firework season, or after the event.

3. Prepare the house. Keep some lights on. Keeping a light on will calm your pet and make him feel more secure, rather than being scared in a dark room. Dampen the noise. Close the curtains in the room and, if your animal is a caged one, cover up the cage in a thick blanket, but make sure it is breathable so your animal doesn't suffocate. This will also help to stop the flashes of light affecting your pet. Plan to use familiar sounds to drown out the noise of the fireworks. Music from a stereo or turning on the TV are likely familiar sounds that can sooth your pet.

4. Prepare the room. Select a suitable room where you will contain the pets for the duration of the fireworks. An inner room that is least impacted by the noise is ideal.
-Make the room cozy.
-Ensure that the room temperature is pleasant
-Consider whether sound might be soothing. If your pet is used to music, turn some on at normal volume.
-Remove any sharp items from the room in case your pet starts jumping or running around.

5. Prepare yourself. In the desire to ease our pet's pain, sometimes we can transfer some of our anxiety and upset to the pet. If you've prepared properly in advance, there is no need to feel upset and worried as you can be reassured about the safety of your pet.

6. Confine your pet. Half an hour to an hour before the fireworks are due to be set off, place your pet into the chosen room.

7. Provide food and hydration. Be sure to leave sufficient water and food for your pet in the confinement space. Many pets will be uneasy, or even frantic. If your pet has access to water, it will help calm him, and food supplied in your pet's regular portion will make him feel like it's a normal day.

8. Keep an eye on your pet, and if possible, stay with her. Comfort her and talk to her. Be friendly but don't fuss over her too much; this can increase her anxiety if she picks up on yours and can reward and encourage fearful behavior.

9. Check on your pet after the fireworks. Reassure him and remove the protection (blankets, etc.) as long as you're sure that the loud fireworks are over. Check for signs of stress in your pet:
-For cats, signs of stress include running away, soiling the house, hiding away and refusing to eat.
-For dogs, signs of stress include barking a lot, running away, soiling the house, hiding and cowering, clinging to owners, whimpering, trembling and shaking, pacing and panting, and refusing to eat.
-If your pet is stressed, keep him indoors overnight. Keep a litter tray somewhere in the house, or walk a dog after the fireworks but don't let him off his harness and be sure to stay with him the whole time.

10. Do a yard sweep before letting your pets back outside. Collect any sparklers, firecrackers, etc., as well as party items and broken objects. This will prevent your pet from being injured by unfamiliar objects.

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