New Year’s Eve is right around the corner and that means a lot of celebration, but loud noises from fireworks can be problematic for veterans with PTSD.

Fireworks can be all fun and games until the loud booms trigger traumatic memories for soldiers.

Vietnam veteran Mike Bartholomew knows the feeling all too well when he came home in 1969.

I had a lot of anxiety from loud noises,” he said. “Cars would go by, if it was a backfire Id be under the bed. It was an immediate reaction that I needed to cover myself. We just dont think, you just react.

Bartholomew, who works as a service officer processing VA claims at VFW Post 549 on the Eastside, considers himself lucky his sound sensitivity went away in just a few months.

I got used to the noise, got used to being at home and not having the fear of somebody shooting at me.”

But others, like the ones Robin Bizub talks to on a regular basis, were not so lucky.

It causes them strife. It causes them to relive things that they shouldnt have to relive, said Bizub, Junior Vice Commander at the post.

He said veterans have told him stories he wishes he could unhear.

Its heartbreaking that we cant just fix it. All we can do sometimes is listen.

For those with PTSD, involuntary reactions to loud noises or light flashes can vary.

Theyre starting to get worked up, theyre starting to get panicked, they may have a desire to flee or leave,” said Danielle DeMailo, who works for the Tucson VA Hospital in the mental health unit.

“And some people have the desire to fight even or to become hostile.

DeMailo said her relatives’ military service inspired her career to work with veterans, especially her father who also served in Vietnam.

Sometimes he struggles with the fact that he had such a good time in the military,” she said while looking at her dad’s army portrait. “Whereas his brother and fellow comrades did not, and experienced a lot of trauma.

The key is to know how to help someone reset during a PTSD episode. Intentional breathing, mindfulness and body scans are some of the coping tools.

It’s sometimes better to invite veteran neighbors to the New Year’s party so they can expect the noise.

DeMailo said having a safe person or group of people in hectic environments is especially supportive.

Maybe some warning signs and even some cues like, Hey, Im struggling. And maybe that person can kind of cue them to practice some breathing or give them a hug or squeeze their hand.

The VA also provides same-day access services during regular business hours, as well as a 24/7 crisis line 988 (then press 1) in emergency situations.

Bizub said before you kick off an at-home firework show, “Know your neighbor. Who are they? What can they handle?