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Fireworks can be hazardous for combat veterans
Many veterans are extra sensitive to explosive sounds 

Jo Ingles
Backyard fireworks are illegal in Ohio and veterans groups say they can be dangerous.
Courtesy of Seth Sawyers
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There are community fireworks displays throughout Ohio over the July 4th weekend. But it’s the unplanned, illegal backyard fireworks that can cause problems for some veterans.

Suzanne Robinson works with NAMI Homefront, a program for families of returning veterans. She says returning vets are often hyper-vigilant and that unexpected fireworks can easily startle them, causing a post-traumatic stress episode.

LISTEN: Robinson fireworks

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“Obviously when you are prepared for something coming like that, your startle response is not going to be quite the same but when you are not prepared for that and suddenly your neighbor lights things off and you are hearing these noises and you were not expecting it, it can throw things off. One of the veterans who was on our expert advisory panel, he remembers hitting the floor one time in a completely odd situation but he heard an unexpected noise and it just threw him off.”

Ohio law says people who buy fireworks here must take them out of state to use them.

And in most Ohio cities, using illegal fireworks without a permit is a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries the possibility of six months in prison and a $1,000 fine, although judges rarely dole out prison time for misdemeanors.

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