Cannon fire to start and end the major battles at Pennsic is a long-standing and well loved tradition at Pennsic, but in recent years concerns have been repeatedly raised that it is distressing to some of our military veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder or related issues as a result of their service.
A compromise is being proposed, in which a warning would be broadcast to gentles who request it shortly before the cannon fires so that they can be prepared for the sound rather than being startled by it. The organizers are seeking volunteers to help implement the system at Pennsic this year.
In brief, the plan involves using a messaging application to deliver alerts in real time to people who sign up to receive them, either as email or as SMS (text) messages. One will be sent out very shortly before each round of cannon fire.
The volunteers are needed primarily to assist with the process of getting the phone numbers/emails entered into a database which the application will use to disseminate the alerts.
This information comes to us courtesy of the Aethelmearc Gazette. For more information read the complete article on their site: https://aethelmearcgazette.com/2017/03/22/whilst-the-cannons-fire-pennsic-and-ptsd/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true
It discusses both the application to be used, the process by which the organizers came to settle on this approach, and the motivations and experience of the organizers. It’s an eye-opening and graphic window into the effects of the cannon fire on people for whom explosions are a stress trigger.
If you wish to support the effort, contact information for the organizers can be found there as well.