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

Erik Peterson
Erik Peterson
18:23 14 May 21
Life changing process is an understatement. I can't and will never be able to thank the staff enough for pointing me back in the right direction. Literally everyone in this world is walking around with rocks in their boots and if you really truly want to shake them out this is the place to do it. What an amazing experience I personally had and finally feel like myself again. This is a place that welcomes you in with open arms both staff and fellow members. Only thing I wish I would have done is gone sooner. There is no stigma and it's none of your business what people think about you. You are only going to improve while you are there and make friends for life all over the nation. Don't keep laying in the gutter... get up get there help is only a phone call away and they will help with every step. It's your life.... it's your choice and it was the best choice I've ever made. Stay strong brothers and sisters.
Daniel Oldham
Daniel Oldham
16:10 13 May 21
Every IAFF member with substance or trauma issues needs to come to the COE! Amazing facility to overcome your demons!!
Josh Proctor
Josh Proctor
17:36 12 May 21
The IAFF Center of Excellence has given me the cognitive and emotional tools to change my life.
Kevin Sirois
Kevin Sirois
17:57 11 May 21
Wonderful place, game changer! All staff are excellent.
Bronson Smith
Bronson Smith
14:33 30 Apr 21
The COE staff welcomed me with open arms in my time of need. They prioritized my journey here in a way that was doable for me. I was lost, afraid and didn't know who I was anymore when I arrived. My PTSD was eating me alive. Now that I'm leaving tomorrow I feel free, happy and I have love for myself again. The facility is improving everyday, the staff is unbelievably helpful during tough days, and the director will do anything he can for you. If you are struggling, make the call and get here. My only regret is not coming to the COE sooner. Thank you all for helping me find happiness in life again!
Kurtis Coats
Kurtis Coats
15:10 29 Apr 21
I spent about 35 days at the center!!! This place is nothing short of a miracle! I was scared to death to go! The hardest thing for me was to say yes and get there but when I got there I was instantly welcomed! People there are sincere and everyone genuinely cares about you! From the BHTs, to the kitchen staff ,to the clinicians, to Mark the director, and Mrs. Vonnie, I’ve never met more strangers who instantly made you feel welcomed, loved and safe!!! This place saves lives. I’m a dad of 3 and a husband and this place just gave my kids their dad back any my wife a husband she never knew existed. If you’re considering going here don’t wait just say yes and know it’s hard for a lot of people to say yes and go but once you get there you’ll know it’s worth the short time you’ll be there!!!

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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