IAFF Center of Excellence

WATCH: Kerry Ramella, founder of firestrong.org and member of IAFF advisory board talks about the IAFF Center of Excellence

For first responders feeling the effects of a lifetime of wrenching calls, reaching out for help can be the hardest step. Sometimes, the emotional scars are too deep to be healed by an arm around the shoulder.

Now, firefighters are stepping forward to help heal our own.

The IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery in Maryland is where front line firefighters can get the help they need from those who know their pain best.

Opened last year, the first-of-its-kind in-patient facility provides comprehensive treatment for post-traumatic stress, substance abuse and depression exclusively for firefighters.

READ: Firefighters Helping Others Learn to Help Themselves, Washington Post

The comprehensive treatment center can house up to 64 firefighters in an environment that mirrors the familiarity of the firehouse. Peer counselors and clinicians develop customized treatment programs for individual firefighters.

Those on site who haven’t been firefighters themselves receive training, participate in ride-alongs and go through Fire Ops to give them an understanding of the job … and the stresses at its heart.

The objective is to break through decades of holding back the flood of emotions that many are convinced they must hide.

Get more information: www.iaffrecoverycenter.com