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Combat Stress calls for ban on sale of noisy fireworks to public

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With fireworks going on sale for Bonfire Night, we're asking the public to buy silent fireworks instead of noisy ones.

Many former servicemen and women with mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder experience distress at this time of year with the sudden flashes and bangs of fireworks reminding them of the horrors of war.

Public displays are returning this year after they were cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19. As these events are advertised, veterans can prepare for the sights and sounds of fireworks. However, many people are still expected to set off fireworks in their garden and it’s these unexpected displays, which happen with no warning, that can have a significant impact on veterans with mental health problems living close by.

Fireworks are on sale to the public from 15 October to 10 November, so veterans face a challenging month ahead having to contend with the distress caused by the fireworks and the grief of mourning fallen comrades at Armistice.

Professor Catherine Kinane, Medical Director at Combat Stress, said:

“We see a higher rate of distress in veterans accessing our services at this time of year. Not only is this time of year challenging because of the grief surrounding Armistice, but the sound and sudden unexpected bangs of fireworks can be reminders of frontline combat where they were exposed to the horrors of war in service to this country.

“Firework displays bring people together and create a lot of joy for spectators. We don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun but we urge the public to understand how distressing noisy fireworks can be for military veterans.”

Tips advising veterans on how to cope with fireworks are available on our website here.   

Where can I buy or watch silent fireworks

To help the public to support veterans through purchasing silent fireworks, or to attend silent firework displays, we have created a list of silent firework sellers or displays that we are aware of. If you would like to add your display to the list, or are aware of other places where silent fireworks can be purchased or watched on display, please let us know by tweeting us @CombatStress 

Silent Fireworks - Sellers:

Dynamic Fireworks

Fireworks Kingdom

Silent Fireworks - Displays

The Metro has an extensive list of Silent Firework Displays, take a look to find the closest one to you. Read the article here.