Exclusively for IAFF members.
It’s okay to ask for help.

Treatment for successful recovery from substance abuse, PTSD and other co-occurring behavioral health issues.

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the IAFF Center of Excellence has created some helpful resources for our patients and their families.

Our Center

The IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery is a one-of-a-kind treatment facility specializing in PTSD for professional fire service members who struggle with trauma, substance use, addiction and other related behavioral health challenges. It is a safe haven for members to receive the help they need in taking the first steps toward recovery and share experiences with other members who have faced or overcome similar challenges.

gym and fitness center at IAFF

Thoughtful Design

Designed from the ground up with fire fighters in mind, the Center sits on a 15-acre campus and includes a state-of-the-art gym and other features that encourage physical activity to help in recovery and preparing to return to the job.
outdoor space at IAFF

Natural Serenity

Located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C., the IAFF Center is surrounded by lush pine forest and features onsite areas for reflection and enjoying nature’s healing powers.

members sitting at table at IAFF

Knowledgeable Staff

The IAFF Center is overseen by Craig L. Katz, M.D., who designed a program for first responders in the aftermath of 9/11, and Abby Morris, M.D., an expert in the behavioral healthcare field. We understand the rigors of your job, and know what it takes to help.

What Our Patients Say

firefighter First
firefighter First
04:50 24 Dec 21
Went to the COE lost, hurting, and searching for my identity. I hid what was going on with internally from my friends and family as long I could. It worked until it didn’t. So I reached out to the center and they did not hesitate to get me in. Best decision I ever made regarding my life. The tools and things I learned there will help me for years to come. The staff is very knowledgeable and helpful. The brotherhood between the firefighters there is unmatched. There is definitely something magical at the COE.
Kyle Simon
Kyle Simon
21:42 16 Dec 21
The IAFF COE was an amazing experience! When I arrived I was at my lowest low and my self esteem and self confidence was torn and tattered. I leave feeling confident now knowing who I am and in the destination I choose.
Ronald Whitaker
Ronald Whitaker
18:22 16 Dec 21
Coming here was the hardest thing I have ever done. However, the experience and treatment I was recieved was second to none.
robluvgun Cook
robluvgun Cook
21:00 14 Dec 21
You cannot heal in an environment that has made you ill! Drop everything & get to the COE! The most magical environment coupled with a talented team of people that actually care! Trust the process & go back home a new person.
Joshua Bunse
Joshua Bunse
20:19 14 Dec 21
Checking In to the COE, I was scared, sad, and realized I had hit bottom. My wife and kids have been asking me to get help because I was always angry, had a very short temper and was pushing my kids away without even realizing how bad it had gotten. I was drinking and blacking out, while still walking and talking……. No recollection of what was going on, or how I behaved the night before.After being here 3 days, my whole outlook changed….. I was among friends/brothers/sisters who I could actually open up too and share without being judged. It was mind blowing. I met 50 of the greatest people I have ever met and I can call on any one of them anytime, if I need a friend or some reassuring wordsThat is the greatest feeling ever, and I can’t wait to go home a new person, to a new lifeThank you COE….. I will be spreading the word whenever I see someone struggling.
F Donehey
F Donehey
17:02 08 Dec 21
Great place.. needs healthy food
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About Our Program

Care for your unique needs

If you’re struggling with post-traumatic stress along with co-occurring depression, anxiety or substance abuse disorders, you need treatment from professionals who understand the fire service culture and the unique pressures of your job. The IAFF Center of Excellence connects you to best-practice, evidence-based therapies delivered by clinicians who understand the types of trauma you experience on a day-to-day basis.

Completely confidential treatment

Center staff cannot discuss your treatment with anyone — your fire department, family or friends — unless given explicit permission by you. This applies before, during and after your stay at the IAFF Center of Excellence.

Our Partner: Advanced Recovery Systems

With seven treatment centers across the United States, the continuum of care provided by Advanced Recovery Systems is unsurpassed. The IAFF has partnered with Advanced Recovery Systems to provide members with specialized treatment for the everyday stressors that trigger PTSD, behavioral health disorders and substance abuse.

iaff logo
advanced reocvery systems logo

We Can Help

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

You’re exposed to traumatic situations every day you’re on the job. For this reason, fire fighters and paramedics are twice as likely as the general population to experience PTSD. That’s why therapies to treat and recover from PTSD are first priority at the IAFF Center of Excellence. You’ll learn coping strategies, work through individual and group therapy sessions and participate in activities that will help you recover, build resilience and return to the job.

Substance Abuse

It is not uncommon when suffering from PTSD to experience co-occurring disorders, including alcohol and drug abuse as substances are sometimes used to self-medicate and escape symptoms. As part of the integrated, multi-disciplinary approach at the IAFF Center of Excellence, IAFF members struggling with addiction will receive the full continuum of care, from detox to outpatient therapy, so they can get the necessary treatment to start living fuller lives.

Behavioral Health

Depression, anxiety and other behavioral health issues can also be brought on or worsened by the stresses of the job. However, through medical and pharmacological treatment and cognitive talk therapy, members can get behavioral health treatment in a caring and supportive atmosphere that understands the fire service culture.

We Can Help

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

You’re exposed to traumatic situations every day you’re on the job. For this reason, fire fighters and paramedics are twice as likely as the general population to experience PTSD. That’s why therapies to treat and recover from PTSD are first priority at the IAFF Center of Excellence. You’ll learn coping strategies, work through individual and group therapy sessions and participate in activities that will help you recover, build resilience and return to the job.

Substance Abuse

It is not uncommon when suffering from PTSD to experience co-occurring disorders, including alcohol and drug abuse as substances are sometimes used to self-medicate and escape symptoms. As part of the integrated, multi-disciplinary approach at the IAFF Center of Excellence, IAFF members struggling with addiction will receive the full continuum of care, from detox to outpatient therapy, so they can get the necessary treatment to start living fuller lives.

Behavioral Health

Depression, anxiety and other behavioral health issues can also be brought on or worsened by the stresses of the job. However, through medical and pharmacological treatment and cognitive talk therapy, members can get behavioral health treatment in a caring and supportive atmosphere that understands the fire service culture.

Recovery Stories

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