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



Blink or Sleight of Hand – Hospitals Beware

by | Jul 10, 2007

A recent National Incident Management System (NIMS) update alert from the NIMS Implementation Center, included obscure reference to a frequently asked question (FAQ) document on the FEMA website.  This document, posted on April 20, 2007, like many documents before it was deeply buried within the FEMA website, accessible only to those who knew where to find it.  


The last two questions on this FAQ document dealt with a raging debate regarding the repercussions of failing to be NIMS compliant before the looming September 30, 2007 deadline.  


The first answered the question of whether the Joint Commission required NIMS compliance for accreditation.  The answers stated “Not at this time.”


The second question similarly was a response to inquiries regarding whether CMS required NIMS compliance for Medicare and Medicaid benefits and reimbursements.  Again the answer was “Not at this time.”


The April 20th update was posted almost exactly three weeks to the day after High Alert, LLC.  privately circulated a pre-released draft of its white paper on the association of NIMS, NRP, the NIMS Implementation Plan for Hospitals and Healthcare, the Federal False Claims Act (Qui Tam) and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  In that much circulated document, High Alert referenced several early positions by the Justice Department and the NIMS Implementation Center that placed hospitals and other healthcare facilities at risk of Medicare fraud and the repercussions of that fraud under both Federal False Claims Act and Sarbanes-Oxley.  


High Alert sounded the claxton alarm warning that failure to be NIMS compliant while still billing Medicare and Medicaid could constitute a violation of the Federal False Claim Act, thus opening institutions to significant legal repercussions.  


Several legal scholars had reviewed this potential and concurred with High Alert’s conclusions, adding that willful blindness regarding NIMS Compliance does not constitute a defense.  Similarly, the fact that Federal False Claims complaints are sealed for the first 120 days would by necessity mean that healthcare facilities and hospitals filing Sarbanes-Oxley Reports while under a Federal False Claims complaint would be guilty of a second violation, that being a false Sarbanes-Oxley Attestation.  


Several officials within the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA and Department of Health and Human Services requested copies of the High Alert draft document in the weeks prior to its official release in early April.  Within a week of the release of High Alert’s white paper the FAQ statements were posted to the internet. Interestingly, it was not until late June that the existence of these clarifications was publicized.


This raises the specter of a continuing plan to place hospitals and healthcare facilities in danger of violating of both the Joint Commission Accreditation guidelines and the Federal False Claims Act for failing to be filling NIMS compliance by the September 30 deadline.  


Hospitals and healthcare facilities can take a little solace in the fact that this FAQ document state “not at this time” in response inquires that the possibilities raised by High Alert’s document will result in actual federal prosecution. 


There further persists the question of whether or not a private relator can bring Qui Tam action under the Federal False Claims Act, despite the fact that the federal government is currently disallowing any intention of bringing such claims on its own, “at this time.”


The history of the Federal False Claims Act demonstrates that enforcement has been primarily at the hand of private citizens acting in the function of “relator” bringing Qui Tam actions thus ever expanding the application and implication of the Federal False Claims Act.


The legal connections between liabilities under Federal False Claims and the Sarbanes-Oxley Attestation has been well-established both by High Alert and by others.  Thus when Qui Tam actions are successfully argued for failure to comply with NIMS hospitals and their corporate executives would face serious legal jeopardy. 


Of even greater concern is the fact that even if a Qui Tam action were unsuccessful, the fact that the Qui Tam action may not be disclosed by any party requires that the existence of this potential liability be omitted from any Sarbanes-Oxley report filed during the corresponding time frame. This willful omission of a potential liability is the very definition of a Sarbanes-Oxley disclosure violation. Due to this legal “catch 22,” the CEO and CFO who signed the fraudulent Sarbanes-Oxley Attestation face civil and criminal prosecution. 


The recent NIMS Integration Center alert and its associated FAQ document may allay the fears of hospitals as they move forward quickly to meet the September 30 implementation deadline. However, those facilities who view this document as reassurance that there are no significant repercussions for failure to be NIMS compliant may find that the copies of the High Alert document circulated at the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, the NIMS Implementation Center and CMS served as a template for NIMS enforcement.


The ultimate question is, did the Federal government blink or is this a bit of informational sleight of hand? 


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High Alert Institute

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