Fireworks may be a traditional part of Independence Day celebrations across the country, but in the community surrounding Stoneman Douglas High School, there’s a newfound anxiety over the sound of those fireworks.
“She heard all the shots, so this holiday is very difficult," said Lisa Goel, whose 14-year-old daughter was in the 1200 building where the shooting happened on Valentine's Day. "Because all the fireworks sound like shots fired."
Mullins Park in Coral Springs will host a professional fireworks show at 9 p.m., which is why the Goel family is making plans to be elsewhere at that time. They're heading to the movies for the evening.
“They are forever changed, our lives and everybody who has experienced it," Goel said.
While the family can avoid the public fireworks display, it's more difficult to avoid the sound of the sporadic, and also illegal, fireworks that neighbors shoot off throughout the night.
“Last night was actually the worst," Goel said. "The loudest so far and I can’t imagine what tonight is going to sound like."
Goel's daughter is prepared with headphones to block out the noise and also her new puppy by her side to help her cope.
Annabel Claprood, a student at Stoneman Douglas High School who was also in the 1200 building on Valentine's Day, is preparing herself mentally for the sound of fireworks. She's been doing the same recently for other triggers that bring her back to that tragic day, such as police lights and sirens.
“I’m starting to kind of tell myself you’re ok, just take a minute. It’s a process I’m getting through," she said.
Annabel plans to stay home with her family and her pets, which she expects will get her through the night.
“I really think that because I’ll be at a table with my family it’s going to help a lot," she said. "I think that it’s going to keep me calm.”
Goel said she contacted the Coral Springs Police Department on Sunday to put out a notice about the sensitivity to the sound of fireworks in the community right now.
The Coral Springs Police Department posted the following on social media Monday:
"Important Message about Fireworks this 4th of July – The tragic events of February 14, 2018, at MSD have left long-lasting effects on students and educators, who were there that fateful day. The violence they experienced is something many families in our community are still working through. Triggers – like loud bangs from fireworks – can bring back a flood of memories from an act of violence we all would like to forget. This Fourth of July, as you celebrate our Nation’s Independence, remember to take these families into consideration. DO NOT utilize personal fireworks. Instead, plan on attending the City’s pre-planned fireworks display – this well-managed, maintained event starts at 9 pm at Mullins Park (text CSFIREWORKS 888-777 for notifications during the event). Those who suffer from PTSD or other noise related disorders will know in advance the fireworks are on display and can prepare for the sound.
Illegal fireworks are any fireworks that explode or fly in the air. Anyone caught possessing illegal fireworks will have them confiscated on the first offense and cited for a first-degree misdemeanor on the second offense – Coral Springs Police will be enforcing these laws. Should you have any issues with residents using illegal fireworks – call our non-emergency number (954) 344-1800; reserve 911 for emergencies. We appreciate you taking your fellow neighbors into consideration – especially in the wake of such tragedy. Please like and share with your social media contacts. #MSDStrong"