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



Failing to Plan without Planning to Fail

by | Jan 29, 2008

The age old adage, “failing to plan is planning to fail” has become the mantra for every manner of “continuity” and “crisis”. Certainly, it is better to be prepared in an “All Hazards” fashion with a contingency plan based on a business triage / resource allocation model. But what happens when a business is simply unprepared for a crisis? How does management handle an event that is so novel that it could not be anticipated? 


History is rife with stories of the unexpected and leadership legends who navigated their corporate ship to success despite adversity. If you are to thrive through your unanticipated crisis follow in these six footsteps of greatness:


  • Don’t panic 
  • Use common sense 
  • Work smarter, not harder
  • Don’t wander
  • Seek help
  • Mitigate outrage


Don’t Panic

This is easier said than done, but it is fear and panic that renders even the best leaders to act for the sake of acting. In the midst of a crisis, the first action is to observe. Crisis management involves gathering information on five levels:

  1. Macro-Strategic (The view “from 10,000 feet”)
  2. Strategic (The view “from the rooftop”)
  3. Operational (The view “from the street”)
  4. Tactical (The view “from the trenches”)
  5. Micro-Tactical (The view through the eyes of the employees)


It is not until this information is gathered that the full extent of the crisis is appreciated. Unfortunately, the nature of crisis is that it is dynamic and left unanswered, tends to worsen.


Use Common Sense

All too often observation becomes “analysis paralysis” allowing a crisis to deepen irrevocably. Common sense dictates that if there is an obvious action that will stem the evolution of a crisis, that action must be taken. Further, common sense leads to the inescapable conclusion that the rules of business and the laws of nature do not change in a crisis, thus acting in a way that makes no sense when there is no crisis is unlikely to be productive during a crisis.


Work Smarter Not Harder

Disney’s Scrooge McDuck counseled his nephews to “work smarter, not harder.” While business leaders may feel uneasy about taking advice from a cartoon character, the message is paramount when facing a crisis. Leaders know that the smartest way to work is to rely on past success as a blueprint for future success. This requires a form of thinking often mislabeled “gut” or “instinct” in an attempt to describe pattern recognition. The two forms of pattern recognition are:

  1. Past Pattern Matching
  2. Heuristic Deduction


Past Pattern Matching is the act of matching the current situation at all five levels of observation with prior situations. The best matches are predictors of the outcome of repeating prior actions. If a prior action led to prior success, repeating that action should result in success now. Conversely, if a prior action led to prior failure, that is an action to avoid. Malcolm Gladwell wrote of this type of very teachable nonlinear thinking in his book “Blink!”


Heuristic Deduction is another teachable form of nonlinear thinking. Heuristic deduction is literally the act of mentally walking a mile in the shoes of another. Through the techniques of heuristic deduction it is possible to infer the needs and even responses of others based on your own needs and responses when in the same situation. Heuristic deduction required two skills, empathy and bias recognition, but once these are mastered, heuristic deduction is an automatic human response.


Don’t Wander

Although primarily a pre-crisis planning strategy, Business Triage is also useful during a crisis. Business Triage is a strategy for prioritizing goals, outcomes and processes then allocating resources in an objective fashion based on relative importance to those goals and outcomes. The first step is to identify and categorize the desired outcomes:

– Critical/Essential Outcomes – Those that must occur to meet the overall mission

– Urgent/Important Outcomes – Those that facilitate, but are not essential to the mission.

– Supportive/Optional Outcomes – Those that facilitate, but are not necessary to the mission.


Once the outcomes are classified, identify and categorize the processes that result in the desired outcomes:

– Critical/Essential Processes – Those essential to the desired outcome

– Urgent/Important Processes – Those that facilitate, but are not essential to the outcome.

– Supportive/Optional Processes – Those that facilitate, but are not necessary to the outcome.


Critical/Essential Outcomes
Critical/Essential Processes Urgent/Important Processes Supportive/Optional Processes
Critical/Essential Resources

Urgent/Important Resources

Supportive/Optional Resources

Critical/Essential Resources

Urgent/Important Resources

Supportive/Optional Resources

Critical/Essential Resources

Urgent/Important Resources

Supportive/Optional Resources


Urgent/Important Outcomes
Critical/Essential Processes Urgent/Important Processes Supportive/Optional Processes
Urgent/Important Resources

Supportive/Optional Resources

Urgent/Important Resources

Supportive/Optional Resources

Urgent/Important Resources

Supportive/Optional Resources


Supportive/Optional Outcomes
Critical/Essential Processes Urgent/Important Processes Supportive/Optional Processes
Supportive/Optional Resources Supportive/Optional Resources Supportive/Optional Resources


Essential/Critical Outcomes are fully supported first with all available resources, then Urgent/Important and finally Supportive/Optional. This process ensures that the organization does not wander from the path to the desired outcomes and goals.


Seek Help

Don’t go it alone.  There is strength (and creativity) in numbers. Although this should go without saying, it is essential that when a crisis strikes, an organization seek consultation with experts in the management of the crisis and in the communication of risk to keep the crisis from becoming a public relations catastrophe.

Mitigate Outrage

The difference between setback and crisis is outrage. Paul Sandman first described this characteristic of business adversity over three decades ago. The newest rendition of Sandman’s Law is known as the PIVOT analysis (see sidebar). The most interesting thing about Outrage is that it is the greatest predictor of public sentiment and the only factor a business can modify. Outrage is the difference between Expectation and Perception, thus by managing Expectation, a business can mitigate Outrage and thus change public sentiment.


Failing to Plan is not Planning to Fail

While it is always better to plan for success and prepare for crisis, by following in the six footsteps of past legends, a business can still find success.

Sidebar Item


. PIVOT stands for:


P = Probability

I = Impact

V = Vulnerability

O = Outrage

T = Tolerance


Each component places a numerical value on the factors that determine public sentiment. 



The likelihood of an experience occurring (0% to 100%)



The impact of an experience (positive or negative) on a scale 0 to 3 

(0 = None; 1 = Minimal; 2 = Moderate; 3 = Significant)



The susceptibility to the impact on a scale 0 to 3 

(0 = None; 1 = Minimal; 2 = Moderate; 3 = Significant)



The perception of the experience on a scale -3 to 3


Outrage is a calculated value based on Expectation and Satisfaction.


Expectation = Perception of what reality SHOULD BE on a scale 0 to 3

(0 = None; 1 = Minimal; 2 = Moderate; 3 = High)


Satisfaction = Perception of what reality ACTUALLY IS on a scale 0 to 3

(0 = None; 1 = Minimal; 2 = Moderate; 3 = High)




Outrage = Expectation – Satisfaction  



The public sentiment regarding the experience.


To calculate Tolerance, first calculate Hazard and Risk.


Hazard = Impact + Vulnerability


Risk = Probability x Hazard

        = Probability x (Impact + Vulnerability)


Tolerance is then calculated, noting that if Outrage is a negative number, the positive number (absolute value) is used.


Tolerance = (Risk)|Outrage|


When Outrage is zero (Expectation = Satisfaction), Tolerance score always equal to 1. (Mathematically, any number raised to the power of zero equals 1).


When Outrage is a positive number (Expectation > Satisfaction), Tolerance score is a reflection of the Anger.


When Outrage is a negative number (Satisfaction > Expectation), Tolerance score is a reflection of the Enthusiasm.


Put simply Tolerance is Risk raised to the power of Outrage.

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