UCF RESTORES has teamed up with the Florida Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative and a number of other organizations focused on expanding care to firefighters at more than 350 departments around the state. UCF RESTORES is a program that diagnoses PTSD and treats active-duty military, first responders, and other survivors of trauma. Redline Rescue, a website dedicated to the mission of serving firefighters and their families in their times of need, makes finding a clinician or peer support provider easy.

“Our organization was founded on the goal of helping people reclaim control of their lives in the aftermath of trauma,” says RESTORES founder and director Deborah Beidel. “As we continue on our mission to be the first place the nation turns to for education and research on PTSD, we realize the need to align with partners that can connect us to those who are affected.”

The partnership between the two organizations will make it possible to treat firefighters and enhance one of the collaborative initiatives: the Redline Rescue, a statewide network of trained firefighters that connect peers directly with one another for support. The program is to assist those looking for help for anxiety and other symptoms of distress that often accompany exposure to traumatic events that firefighters can often be exposed to.

“With our roster of firefighters and RESTORES’ game-changing approach to treatment – the success of which we’ve seen firsthand – the foundation is laid for us to make a greater difference than ever before.”

RESTORES, which was established in 2011, combines exposure therapy and group therapy sessions to treat patients during an intensive, three-week outpatient format. Patients are exposed through virtual reality to triggers that have contributed to their PTSD. Research has shown that the approach is effective, with about 66 percent of patients PTSD-free at the end of treatment,

RESTORES has treated nearly 500 veterans and active-duty personnel, and has expanded to treat first responders from 20 states and survivors of mass shootings, including those at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.