Firefighters and paramedics experience life’s most difficult situations daily. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with co-occurring substance abuse is a major issue in fire houses across North America. The IAFF Center of Excellence is dedicated to assisting firefighters and emergency medical technicians struggling with these behavioral health challenges.
At Advanced Recovery Systems, our main focus is helping our clients regain control after substance use disorder has derailed their lives. Through evidence-based methods and decades of combined experience among our staff, the treatment centers in the ARS portfolio are top-flight centers for health and wellness. Certain populations face a higher risk for addiction and behavioral health issues than others. The brave men and women who serve as firefighters and paramedics are some of the people most at risk for PTSD and co-occurring substance use disorders. In fact, firefighters and paramedics experience PTSD and substance use disorders at twice the rate of the general population. That’s why our partnership with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) makes sense. As North America’s major firefighter’s labor union, the organization represents more than 303,000 firefighters and paramedics in the United States and Canada. The result of our partnership is the IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery, a first-of-its-kind rehabilitation center designed especially for and by firefighters.
Choosing a location to build a rehabilitation center can be difficult because addiction doesn’t discriminate and isn’t bound to one area. The IAFF Center of Excellence is located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, a forested, serene town just 30 minutes east of Washington, D.C., near the Chesapeake Bay. Ease of travel is key in getting our clients the help they need, and the center is located only one hour from Washington Dulles International Airport. The IAFF Center of Excellence is near a major city, but its location is secluded enough to maximize the restorative power of nature.
Abby Morris, MD
Director of Nursing
The evidence-based, multidisciplinary care provided at Advanced Recovery Systems is essential to achieving positive outcomes for our clients. With our partnership with IAFF, we have incorporated our clinical models into specialized programming for firefighters struggling with PTSD and other co-occurring disorders. A multidisciplinary approach combines the expertise of doctors, nurses, therapists and more to treat the whole person, not just the disease. Evidence-based treatment means each step our clients take toward recovery is backed by scientific research. The programming at the IAFF Center of Excellence offers clients:
Time is of the essence once our clients are admitted to the IAFF Center of Excellence. We want you feeling better as soon as possible. Within 24 hours of admission, you’ll meet with your physician and therapist to develop an individualized treatment plan to maximize your progress toward recovery.
Part of success in long-term recovery is learning to live a healthy and fulfilling life. That’s why we’ve integrated recreation and community-building into the programs at the IAFF Center of Excellence. You can expect the following amenities at the 15-acre IAFF Center of Excellence campus:
We want our clients to feel at home, which is why the design of the center has the look and feel of a fire station, right down to the artwork and furnishings. Participating in healthy hobbies and structured activity time with your IAFF brothers and sisters will solidify friendships and support systems that can last long after discharge from rehab.
When it’s possible, our main goal is to help firefighters and paramedics return to doing the job they love. In order to achieve this, the IAFF Center of Excellence places great importance on supporting our clients after they leave rehab. The two ways we’ve achieved this are with alumni mentoring and aftercare support.
When new firefighters come into the fire station, they are mentored by seasoned firefighters. Similarly, graduates of the IAFF Center of Excellence program are invited to come back and build relationships with those currently in the program. The bonds of trust and camaraderie built in the alumni mentorship program can last well into long-term recovery.
Adjusting to life outside of rehab and going back to the fire station can be a challenge for some. That’s why the programs we’ve developed with IAFF are designed to help with that transition.
After discharge from the center, you’ll receive:
Rehab is all about gaining the tools you need for a successful and healthy life. With the behavioral health expertise of Advanced Recovery Systems and the support from your IAFF brothers and sisters, long-term recovery is possible and achievable.