Charity coalition calls for action on fireworks
PTSD UK is honoured to be a member of the ‘Fireworks Working Group,’ a collaborative effort of prominent UK charities advocating for a thorough examination of current fireworks legislation. Ahead of New Year’s Eve fireworks season, this coalition recently convened at the House of Commons, shining a spotlight on the detrimental impact of fireworks on both animals and individuals.
The event was hosted by the Fireworks Working Group, which unites 16 charities: PTSD UK, Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, Battersea, British Veterinary Association, Cats Protection, Children’s Burns Trust, The Kennel Club, Combat Stress, Dan’s Fund for Burns, Assistance Dogs, Service Dogs, The British Horse Society, Redwings, Bravehounds and Help for Heroes.
The charities are calling for the UK Government to conduct a review of existing fireworks legislation, and for the introduction of further restrictions on where and when they can be used. Through better regulating the use of fireworks, the charities hope to limit the unnecessary distress that can be inflicted on so many people and animals during fireworks season, which often lasts continuously for many evenings around key events such as Guy Fawkes Night, Diwali, Chinese New Year and New Year’s Eve.
The event came after the first period of heavy fireworks use by members of the public, surrounding Guy Fawkes Night and Diwali celebrations. The unpredictable nature of loud noises can be terrifying for affected animals and people. While charities can provide advice on coping with the noise, the Government can play their part in reducing the stress by bringing forward legislation that allows those affected to prepare or avoid displays altogether.
Jacqui Suttie, Founder and CEO of PTSD UK says, “When you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD or C-PTSD), any loud or sudden noise can be a trigger, leading to flashbacks, uncontrollable shaking, panic attacks, heart palpations and many other physical and emotional symptoms. That linked with the other symptoms of PTSD and C-PTSD such as exaggerated startle response, fear of sound (phonophobia), aversion to specific sounds (misophonia), and a difficulty in tolerance and volume of sounds that would not be considered loud by normal hearing individuals (hyperacusis) means firework ‘season’ in October and November or around festivals such as Diwali, New Year and Chinese New Year can be a hugely traumatic time for people with PTSD and C-PTSD.
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It is possible for PTSD to be successfully treated many years after the traumatic event occurred, which means it is never too late to seek help. For some, the first step may be watchful waiting, then exploring therapeutic options such as individual or group therapy – but the main treatment options in the UK are psychological treatments such as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Traumatic events can be very difficult to come to terms with, but confronting and understanding your feelings and seeking professional help is often the only way of effectively treating PTSD. You can find out more in the links below, or here.