GREATER Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is backing a campaign launched by Wigan Council to be mindful of people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) this Bonfire Night.
The Service has created a film highlighting the issue featuring a police dog handler, who works with Service Dogs UK – a charity which provide assistance dogs for veterans of the armed forces and emergency services who suffer from PTSD.
Loud bangs and other unexpected noises, like fireworks, can have an adverse effect on those who have served in the armed forces, especially those suffering from PTSD.
Wigan Council launched the campaign after a Facebook post published by Greater Manchester Armed Forces page reached over 100,000 people.
The post asked people to be considerate towards veterans this Bonfire Night and received a lot of feedback.
One of those veterans was ex-solider Andy Reid, who commented: “I think it’s very important people are made aware of the distress fireworks can cause veterans and serving personal.”
While serving in the Yorkshire Regiment in Afghanistan in 2009, Andy stood on an IED. Andy, who lives in St Helens, lost three limbs as a result of the explosion.
Last week a firework was set off next to him. He said: “After the firework went off I was very shaken and distressed as it was very close to me. I don’t suffer from PTSD but if I had of done it would have been very traumatic and could of given me flashbacks.”
The campaign is supported by Treacle – a Greater Manchester campaign aimed at preventing, anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and injuries during the Bonfire Night and Halloween Period.
Chair of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, David Acton, said: “We would like to wish everyone in Greater Manchester a safe and happy Bonfire Night.
“But we know it isn’t fun for everyone especially those, who have suffered trauma in the past.
“Elderly people, parents with young children, people living alone and many pets also find Bonfire Night quite frightening.
“Please be mindful of these people when you’re celebrating tonight and over the weekend.”