They help others all the time. Now, first-responders have a place to get support.
By Craig Winston
As first-responders, firefighters and paramedics are susceptible to trauma, and until recently, there was no dedicated facility to help them overcome their PTSD. However, that’s not the case anymore.
The International Association of Fire Fighters Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery in Maryland just outside Washington, D.C., is a place for first-responders to get responded to if they need help. Firemen don’t only respond to fires and car accidents, but they’re on call to action in the aftermath of mass shootings such as the one in Las Vegas a few years ago that killed 58 and natural disasters such as hurricanes.
Patrick Morrison, assistant general president for health, safety, and medicine of the IAFF told The Washington Post: “We’re showing up at everybody’s worst day, in a lot of cases. It’s not just part of our job — we want to do it. But how can we get to retirement and have a life after the fire service that’s not traumatized by what we did?”
The center, a one-of-a-kind facility that supports addiction treatment, specializes in PTSD, depression, and anxiety. It is for IAFF members only. Besides its clinical facilities, the 15-acre site includes a pool, basketball court, gym, and residential housing.