Griffin Works offers Pawsitive Interactions with Service Dogs During Response Operations©, an audience-customized training that breaks down barriers by offering hands-on handling training and demonstrations with working service dogs for fire departments, EMS agencies, and public safety organizations.

Part of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium and home to the National Emergency Response and Recovery Training Center, TEEX has been leading homeland security training since 1998. The major TEEX programs include fire and rescue, infrastructure and safety, law enforcement, economic and workforce development, and homeland security. As a member of The Texas A&M University System, TEEX is unique in its ability to access a broad range of emerging research and technical expertise. Beginning with course design and development all the way through hands-on instruction and national certification testing, TEEX delivers comprehensive training through both classroom and hands-on instruction and as online courses.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) was created by Congress in 2000 as part of the Children’s Health Act to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events. This unique network of child-serving professionals, caregivers and young adults, researchers, and national partners is committed to changing the course of children’s lives by improving their care and moving scientific gains quickly into practice across the U.S. The NCTSN is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and coordinated by the UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS). 

The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The EMI provides national leadership in developing and delivering training to ensure that individuals and groups having key emergency management responsibilities possess the requisite skills to effectively perform their jobs.

The High Alert Institute maintains a list of reviewed courses provided by governments, universities and professional organizations. This list is geared towards the non-emergency management person who participates in disaster planning, preparedness, response, recovery or mitigation as part of their job responsibilities.

The High Alert Institute has partnered with Shutterstock to distribute stock images from the nature images donated by our supporters. For eligible stock images, Shutterstock will donate a portion of the royalty to the High Alert Institute. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to Shutterstock customers.

For eligible purchases through AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the High Alert Institute. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to AmazonSmile customers. All you need to do is push the SMILE NOW button and select to support THE HIGH ALERT INSTITUTE on AmazonSmile.

Koi need forever homes, too! For pond enthusiasts, freshwater exotic and ornamental fish may not be available through pet stores or rescues in their area. The High Alert Institute Aquatic Pet Shelter Rehoming Program will be happy to assist you in stocking your new pond or adding a new finned friend to your school. Coming soon – when you adopt a Koi from the High Alert Institute Aquatic Pet Shelter Rehoming Program, we can arrange for delivery to your door anywhere in the continental United States.

Have you always wanted a Koi pond but don’t have the space one? Sponsor a Koi in our community shelter pond and we send you photos of your sponsored animal. Coming soon are live Koi Cameras above and below the water to enjoy your sponsored Koi anytime.

Dumping of freshwater non-native species and exotic aquatic pets into wild habitats is a man-made disaster that is truly preventable. The Institute’s Aquatic Pet Welfare Partnership works to raise awareness and reduce the impact on healthy ecosystems through education, as well as rescue and rehoming. Joined by champions of animal welfare and environmental stewardship, this  association of aquatic pet rescue operations and aquatic pet shelters across the United States aims to save our finned friends and preserve our waterways together.

Want to share our cause with family, friends, and colleagues? Looking for a non-traditional way to celebrate a birthday or honor someone special? Support the Institute by starting your own Peer-to-Peer fundraising challenge! Let your contacts know why our mission is important to you and what they can do to support your cause. START YOUR OWN FUNDRAISER for the High Alert Institute.

From the staffing pool to the shelter ponds, from the boardroom to the classroom, and from reading the science to writing the analyses, High Alert Institute programs and services benefit from the experience, expertise, and generosity of our volunteers. Put your talents to use for good and to good use – VOLUNTEER TODAY.

Make your donation twice as nice by rehoming aquatic pets and providing a rehabilitation companion pet to a deserving person, family, or facility. Sponsor part or all of a Joy of Koi Program pond installation – complete with rehomed koi – and give the gifts of love and recovery.

Professional photographers, amateurs, and legal copywrite holders are all welcome to participate in the High Alert Institute Nature Photo Donation Program. Sales of the images benefit the Institute and donors are eligible for tax deductions equivalent to the fair market value of their photos. Landscapes, seascapes, animals, flowers – all may be accepted – whether new or vintage  images. People may be included in the photo but only if unidentifiable (i.e., blurred figures at a distance).

Did you know that unused patents and copyrights can be donated to charity? Intellectual Property (IP) just sitting on a shelf will lose value as it becomes obsolete. The High Alert Institute IP Donation Program seeks to rescue stranded, technology-related IP with the potential for development into marketable products. Once accepted by the program, the owner/inventor is eligible for a tax deduction equivalent to the fair market value of the IP. The Institute receives the patent licensing fees or revenue from the sale of the IP to businesses, helping us to fund our mission. In turn, businesses are able to advance their markets and create jobs for less money than starting a project from scratch.

Disasters are defined as situations in which needs exceed or overwhelm available resources. Some disasters affect an entire community, while other disasters impact individuals and families. Crises of physical or psychological health can be very personal disasters.
The therapeutic value of pets during illness, trauma, and recovery is well established. And Koi fish may be well suited for people who are not able to provide verbal pet commands or physically care for pets like dogs and cats. Koi ponds are also a source of beauty and peace, providing an ideal setting for quiet reflection or meditation.
We are working to partner with pond installers and aquatic pet rescues/shelters to offer free or reduced-cost ponds with rehomed Koi fish to people seeking this type of pet therapy.

Disasters disrupt life and impact our sense of personal, family, and community safety. Survivors and responders alike often are not aware of the emotional, psychological or spiritual challenges that they may face from disaster onset through recovery. With two decades of experience training responders and communities to prepare for the behavioral health aspects of disasters, we will continue to provide education and a curated list of resources to groups or individuals.

Non-medical factors that impact overall health are termed Social Determinants of Health or SDoH. Noise pollution, poor air quality, and poor water quality are three environmental factors known to have a strong link to overall health. And the same environmental factors that impact humans impact their pets and other animals in their care. We continue to assist in advocacy, education, and technology development to mitigate the impact of SDoH on humans and animals alike.

Our efforts in shelter and rescue are the main focus of our environmental stewardship, reducing the environmental impact of non-native aquatic animals being dumped into public waterways. The High Alert Institute also assists innovators with the design, development, and evaluation of green and renewable energy technologies. Reducing the carbon footprint associated with disaster preparedness, response, and recovery furthers our continued mission to mitigate risk and improve resilience.

We partner with public and private organizations, sharing resources and fostering partnerships to improve disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, and mitigation.

The High Alert Institute team has over a century of combined research experience in medical, nursing, behavioral health, and disaster sciences. Our team provides support to researchers and technology developers through comprehensive literature searches and reviews, as well as failure mode database searches and adjudicated reviews.

When disaster strikes, most aquatic pet owners have limited options to secure the safety of their pets. Sheltering in place may not be possible if there is no power to provide aeration and “pet-friendly” shelters do not include ponds or aquariums. Our goal is to provide an option for aquatic pet owners in need of rescue and shelter for their finned friends.

Our goal is to share our two decades of disaster readiness experience with animal welfare organizations, shelters, caretakers, and pet owners, as they implement contingency  plans for natural and manmade disasters.

High Alert Institute



Birds, Bees, Flowers, Trees & DoH

by | Sep 12, 2022

In this second article on Determinants of Health (DoH), we will explore some of the interdependencies of factors affecting animal health and plant health – birds, bees, flowers, and trees. This intricate balance of variables, however, is being threatened by human activity and climate change. Even if not fully appreciated or completely understood, the impact on people, pets, and the planet is certain.



Migratory birds carry diseases as they travel, spreading these diseases to human communities and agricultural animals alike. This is a direct DoH for humans and animals, in addition to impacting food nutrition and food supply chains. Economic impacts directly affect the livelihoods of farms and farmers along the migratory path.

Human activity and climate change greatly affect the timing and pattern of this same disease pathway. The more we change the climate, the more we change the pattern of disease. Climate change alters bird migration timing and patterns, which worsens the disease process. Birds of prey, songbirds, and agricultural flocks are more susceptible to the negative effects of climate change on their eggs and offspring. This is currently a subject of great study in the wild and great economic and food supply concerns, regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic status.


According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Services, one-third of all bites of food in the nation are dependent upon honey bees and fellow pollinators. Most of our fruits, vegetables, and nuts are products of bee pollination and honey bees are responsible for pollinating crops worth $15 billion each year. These small creatures also provide food, either directly or indirectly, for countless wild and domesticated animals. And the ability of bees to pollinate is diminished by the use of many different types of pesticides.

Deforestation and climate change have negative impacts on the health of humans, animals, and plants. Less commonly known is that trees are the main source of nectar for bees. Loss of this food source directly affects the health of the hives and subsequently reduces the chance for recovery of the habitat through pollination. Further, the amount of fresh water needed by bees to maintain hydration and produce honey is considerable. Scarcity of that resource from climate change or pollution significantly affects the health and functionality of the hive.


Climate change alters when a flower is open, shifting the opportunity for pollination within a day and across the season. The health of a plant’s reproductive parts is a critical component of the entire food production cycle, even if the flower or fruit is not directly eaten by humans and/or food animals, such as the flower of a potato or turnip. Availability and variety of plants, as well as the nutritional quality of these food sources, also are affected by climate change and constitute two established DoHs.

Plants that animals eat are dependent on pollination. The majority of these are not pollinated by bees and other insects but by wind and weather. Most of us are aware that pollen in the wind contributes to seasonal allergies. There is less awareness, though, of the impact on airborne pollen that is needed to yield plants for consumption by grazing animals – domesticated or wild – and other livestock. Alterations in wind and weather from human activity and climate change are interfering with this form of pollination. The result is reduced plant production, depleted food sources for both humans and animals, and increased food costs.


Trees and large plants serve many important environmental functions. Healthy flora exchanges carbon dioxide, reverses climate change via sequestration, and draws water from the ground that is released at the top to produce humidification. Yet as climate change causes the atmosphere to become drier, trees are not as effective with gas exchange. With increasing temperatures and decreasing humidity, trees need to take more water from the soil in order to maintain gas exchange. These effects of climate change dehydrate soil, increase wind erosion, and disrupt the sensitive habitats under tree canopies and within the soil to the further endangerment of many species.

Additional effects of climate change are light cycle changes. The amount, frequency, and timing of sunlight reaching the earth’s surface defines the light cycle. This circular path of light and dark is dependent upon humidity, temperature, and weather. Changes in the light cycle, then, are both a factor in climate change and a result of climate change. All plants will use some oxygen at night, with larger plants and trees requiring more than smaller ones. But trees experiencing heat and humidity stress, combined with alterations in the light cycle, will consume significantly more oxygen and release significantly more carbon dioxide during the day than unstressed flora.


Humans significantly impact the health of all plants and animals, as our activities interact with every environment. In turn, the environments and all life contained therein interact with us, which underscores the need for good environmental stewardship. And mitigating the degree to which this interaction has a negative impact on the health and well-being of humans, animals, and plants is a key factor in containing healthcare and food costs and is the responsibility of us all.


Allison A. Sakara, N.P., M.S.N., R.N., P.H.R.N.

Founder & Executive Director, High Alert Institute, Inc. (a 501c3 Not-for-Profit)



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