Firework safe zones for veterans with PTSD

Posted at 6:26 PM, Jul 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-01 18:26:55-04

LAINGSBURG, Mich. (WSYM) - The DNR and the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency have teamed up to offer “firework free” Fourth of July camping options.

Veterans told me that the sound of fireworks being bring back memories they don’t want to remember.

That’s why some of them go to parks where big fireworks are off limits.
Fireworks can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans, which makes the Fourth of July a rough time for some of them. Veteran Chuck Langlois told me that it is for him.

His wife, Kellie Langlois, explained to me what fireworks do to him.
Langlois said, "He will zone out and not really understand what is going on in the present time. So just to keep him isolated from it. It helps a lot."

Veteran Kent Hall told me why fireworks have that effect.

He says, "It can be the sounds a motor has that sound like whoop when it goes off just like the fireworks."

Sleepy Hollow State Park in Laingsburg tries to accommodate veterans with PTSD by banning all large fireworks. The staff call this a safe zone.

Veteran Denise Smith works at this park. She said the park does it’s best to accommodate for veterans who suffer from PTSD.

Smith says, “It’s a firework free zone with means we don't have a city real close letting off their big fireworks."

Kellie Langois told me they come here every year just to get some peace.

Langlois says, "It keeps him away from everything. It keeps calm and we're with friends. This is our normal camp site every Fourth of July."

She said that their dogs are afraid of fireworks too, so it helps to be away from the loud noises.

Sleepy Hollow employees told me the Fourth of July weekend starts getting booked up in January and they recommend veterans call ahead a time to reserve a spot.