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



Echoes of Hurricane Katrina – New Implications Six Years Later

by | May 20, 2011

The recent announcement that Tenet Healthcare Corporation, one of the largest investor-owned healthcare delivery systems in the nation, settled an undisclosed class action lawsuit in Louisiana brought by the families of over 145 patients who were trapped at Mercy Hospital in New Orleans during hurricane Katrina is both unique and alarming. 

What’s unique is that the families did not sue any of the caregivers at Mercy Hospital; rather, they directly sued the owner/operators of the hospital, Tenet Corp, for not having adequate disaster preparedness. Essentially, the plaintiffs said that what happened at Mercy Hospital during hurricane Katrina was not a medical or healthcare issue; rather, it was a business issue. They asserted that Tenet made an active business decision not to prepare. Why? Because preparation was too expensive and taking on the expense of a lawsuit was the less costly route. Besides, a lawsuit such as this had never occurred before, and if one did, the executives figured they could drag it on long enough to outlive the plaintiff in court. 

What’s alarming is that Tenet was able to keep this lawsuit out of the press and the public record until they opted to settle the lawsuit (with a gag order in place) on the eve of the beginning of the jury trial. But they didn’t just gag order the plaintiffs who are being compensated; they gag ordered all their employees and executives as well. Additionally, they kept the lawsuit gag ordered from the very start. Because Mercy Hospital is not the only Tenet hospital, the whole time this suit has been playing out they have doing a highly orchestrated PR campaign, sending two former Tenet executives to every disaster conference to give presentations on how Tenet dedicated an entire division of their supply chain and HR to provide supplies and personnel to every Tenet hospital affected by the hurricane. To date, no one in the industry has understood why Tenet would spend so much money sending people out to tell the Tenet Hurricane Katrina story. Now we know why.

In addition, while the lawsuit has been brewing in the background, Tenet has been providing disaster preparedness training at their most at risk hospitals. They have been working to create a culture of preparedness, but they’ve been singular in the industry doing so. Again, no one has understood why…until now. 

While the exact reasons for Tenet’s settlement are part of the nondisclosure agreement, the existence of the suit and the legal views that can be surmised from it hold dire implications for the healthcare industry as well as for businesses that serve the public’s interests, such as telecommunications, agriculture, public works, etc.—commonly referred to as “critical infrastructure” and “key resource” (CIKR) industries. 

A New Era for Disaster Preparedness 

By all accounts, this is the landmark legal case the plaintiff bar has been waiting for. Disaster response and recovery experts of all stripes have been retained by the plaintiff bar in virtually every state to discuss possible legal strategies under which lawsuits could be brought against CIKR industries for failures of preparedness. And the experts have generally agreed that a landmark case was needed—one where a defendant was either found guilty by a jury or conceded a case in which a natural disaster or manmade event beyond the defendant’s control occurred and in which harm occurred as a direct result of the defendant’s failure to prepare for the disaster. In other words, the defendant knew or should have known that disaster preparedness in an all-hazards model was needed, and that preparedness did not occur. 

Tenet pled “no contest” and chose to pay an undisclosed settlement amount. This move acknowledges that Tenet was in a situation where they knew or should have known that there was a failure to prepare, and the failure to prepare resulted in harm to 145+ individuals. The plaintiff created a direct cause and effect relationship between failure to prepare and harm. This is basic tort law. Once the plaintiff did that, they created legal precedent for anyone else to come in and repeat the same act in court. 


What This Means for Healthcare and CIKR Industries

The National Institute of Health has already established, repeatedly, that 92% of all hospitals and greater than 95% of all other regulated healthcare institutions do not meet the most basic accepted criteria of disaster preparedness as defined by the federal government. That means if you walk into any health facility, and if at that moment an earthquake, tornado, explosion, or any other disaster occurs, you have a 95% chance of becoming a plaintiff in a lawsuit. 

Now that everyone knows such a case can occur, that the plaintiff will prevail, and that there is an attorney who can make it happen, more cases will follow. This moment is the ringing of the warning bell. By gag ordering the case and settling for an undisclosed amount, Tenet bought their industry and CIKR industries a few years at the most. So everyone must get their house in order…immediately. 

Tenet has used the time they bought very well by working to get their other facilities up to speed. Now the CIKR industries must follow suit, because the plaintiff bar is not just looking at healthcare. Healthcare was simply an easy first target. Therefore, if you are in a key industry, this is the time to get prepared and create a culture of preparedness so you can immunize yourself against the possibility of a lawsuit—both to your company and to your industry. Remember, lawsuits within an industry result in higher insurance premiums. 

Fortunately, there are now standards and core competencies for disaster triage that have been accepted by all the various professions. Additionally, today it is much less expensive to bring in a consultant for a day or two to get your facility up to speed, to create a culture of preparedness, and to help you get certified (if certification exists in your industry). Getting your staff trained and demonstrating to them that preparedness is as important as anything else they do could save your organization many millions of dollars down the road. 

Speculating, the amount of the Tenet settlement had to be enough to hurt them, as it spurred them to take action. Let their example be the only lesson you need: Prepare now…or pay later.

Join the Institute
Stay informed and get updates.

*We do NOT share your information with any other sites or organizations.

High Alert Institute

4800 Ben Hill Trail
Lake Wales, FL 33898
Office: 863.696.8090
FAX: 407.434.0804

Privacy Policy

Cookie Policy

Terms of Use


Get Your Data

Shipping Policy

Message Us



Do Not Sell Info

Return Policy