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

Clint Benson
Clint Benson
20:37 12 Oct 21
I was only able to go for 2 weeks but it was amazing what they were able to help me with.
Brendan Whalen
Brendan Whalen
20:58 11 Oct 21
It was a great place and it was a great help to me and my family. I also got the chance to meet and network with brothers and sisters from around the country.
Lauren Duncan
Lauren Duncan
16:07 11 Oct 21
This place saved me in more ways than one.
Reggie Brown
Reggie Brown
16:59 07 Oct 21
The only choice for IAFF members struggling with PTSD or Substance problems is The IAFF Center of Excellence. The Staff is AMAZING. Marc runs a one of a kind facility. Ms. Vonnie, the Clinicians, the BHTs and the Kitchen Staff make the environment upbeat and healthy. I can't express how much this experience has helped me.
Jacob V
Jacob V
17:36 06 Oct 21
To the one curious, welcome.If you have one, allow me to borrow a moment of your time to tell you part of my story and experience at what has affectionately been dubbed by those of us here as "Sad Camp" (don't worry, the nickname's a good thing).I am choosing to give the Center of Excellence a 4 out of 5 stars only because nothing on this earth is perfect. However, this place is about as close to perfect as it gets. There are some minor frustrations, as with any place. I chose to stay a total of 75 days instead of the average 35-45. I would not have done so if it wasn't absolutely worth every single day spent. Should you choose to stay here, you'll more than likely hear this said around the campfire: "It's 30, 40, 50, 60, 75 days for the rest of your life." The IAFF Center of Excellence gave me a second shot at life and I 100% intend on returning for a reboot at somepoint during the remainder of my career.The staff are awesome and they truly care about seeing you improve. The Executive Director (essentially the Department Chief) remembers your name, your story, and your progress. You will see him walking the grounds occasionally just talking with people asking how they're doing and if they need anything. I was initially surprised to find that if someone does have a need, he works to get it taken care of ASAP.The clinical staff are what I describe as the heroes who stand guard over the "heroes". They all check in with you just to see how you are doing and listen to you without any expectations or judgment.The admin, technicians, kitchen, and cleaning staff all work long and hard shifts seeing to it that the place runs as smoothly as it can. They make this place run. Many of them see us more than they see home. In a way similar to us as firefighters.It is not an easy decision to check in and stay here, but when has anything worth obtaining ever been easy. Take it from someone who's condition left him with in-patient treatment as his only option, it is worth it. This center is unique in the fact that it is the only center for firefighters. The bond and brotherhood found here is second to none. Is this place perfect? No. But I challenge you to bring something or someplace that has zero flaws to the table to compete. This place is as close to perfect as Earth will allow.It is my advice and recommendation to every firefighter that holds an IAFF union card to check in and spend some time resting, growing, and strengthening themselves. As a matter of fact, I dare you. What's the worst that could happen?This is more than "How to go to AA/NA/MH support groups for dummies." This center will find and repair the root of whatever is ailing you.The earlier in your career you check in the better. As it has been said "The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is today." -Unknown ProverbVery Respectfully,JV
David Tallent
David Tallent
16:56 05 Oct 21
Great experience at the IAFF COE, great staff and facility. Trauma group was a life changing experience. Just be ready for some uncomfortable days and adjustments to receive some life altering changes in your life! Thank you guys very much.DTL-820
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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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