Rosecrance plans national fire service event

Broadening the conversation about behavioral health in the fire service is the goal of a new three-day event taking place in September.

The 2016 Rosecrance Florian Symposium will bring together clinical experts and men and women of all ranks from fire departments across the country to discuss important topics such as substance use and mental health treatment, trauma, peer support and the chaplaincy.

Rosecrance Florian Program Director Dan DeGryse

Rosecrance for many years has worked alongside firefighters and paramedics but stepped up in 2014 to start the Florian Program, which is geared specifically to that population. Florian has its own eight-bed inpatient substance abuse treatment unit for firefighters and paramedics struggling with job-related addiction and mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. Florian is led by Dan DeGryse, a 26-year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department and a current battalion chief.

The Florian Symposium will take place Sept. 28-30 at the Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont. The first day features pre-conference training sessions in Mental Health First Aid, taught by Rosecrance’s Sarra Reichwald, and Illinois Fire Fighter Peer Support with Jada Hudson and Matt Olson.

The next two days are full of sessions featuring experts in the field from across the country: Frank Leto and Andrew Kane with FDNY; Bobby Halton with Fire Engineering magazine; Ryan “Birdman” Parrot and John Walters with Sons of the Flag; Suzy Gulliver with the Warriors Research Institute; and fire service personnel from Illinois, Wisconsin and Florida. Rosecrance staff including DeGryse, Dr. Raymond Garcia and the Rev. Jim Swarthout, as well as Florian Program alumni are also slated to speak. Nationally recognized comedian Mark Lundholm will perform, as well.

The symposium is open to anyone with an interest in furthering the conversation about behavioral health in the fire service, including new and longtime firefighters and paramedics, fire service administration, chaplains, clinicians, family members and government officials/fire department trustees and board members.

“We want people to feel like it’s OK to talk about these issues and know that there are people who care and places they can go for help. I want people to walk out of this event and go back to their communities to have these discussions in an open forum so we can continue to leave the fire house better than we found it.”

Visit and the Rosecrance Florian Facebook page for more details about symposium registration and events. Call Dan DeGryse at 815-387-2461 or email him at for more information.