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



For the Record… Thank You for my Resilience

by | Jan 21, 2007

My father died a number of years ago. Our last years were strained and distant because when I became a single parent, he was quite vocal about the fact that my children would be better off if I concentrated on my career rather than changing my goals to raise them. By the time I learned to understand and forgive, he was gone. 


For years after his death, I lamented two things:


  • The time I had wasted being angry with him, and
  • That he never saw me succeed; he never had a chance to be proud of me.


These laments served for a long time as a drain on my emotional and relationship resilience. At times of adversity, when needs were dangerously close to exceeding resources, these laments would often tip the scales robbing me of the ability to stave off disaster. 


As time past, I learned that my father had spent his last years bragging about my accomplishments and how well I had raised my children. I discovered through those who knew my father far better than I that he was most proud of the fact that I had made a new life with a wonderful woman and built a family while rebuilding my career. He had never told me any of this. 


Now I have adult children and I look at the resilience they draw from our relationship. Like my father, I brag daily about the accomplishments of each one of them. 


My daughter Victoria who has enjoyed success in every professional endeavor she has attempted from boutique sales (first sale totaled over $10,000) to bartender (nightly tips regularly exceed $300) to graduating from college 2 semesters early and soon to start her doctorate in education. In addition to work and school, Victoria is a belly dancer who donates her talent at local charity events.


My younger daughter Tiffany has made a success of her part-time garage band, taking it from the amateur stages of local bars to the main stage at music festivals and charity events in only 18 months while maintaining excellent grades and working in the promotions department of a radio station. As if this were not enough, Tiffany makes time to help her cousin find his way back to school and to his family.


My son Nicholas has just received his Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. While it is no mean feat to accomplish this while still in the 6th grade, he studies at the training school for the 5 time Florida state champion Tae Kwon Do team. Last week he was honored by being promoted to Instructor at this studio. Like his sisters, Nicholas also donates his talents on both his school and church choirs.


My youngest child Christopher is the joy of the family. His contagious smile and never ending fountain of happiness and love brighten even the darkest day and ease the heaviest heart. It is impossible to look at him and not smile, then laugh and feel better. He is a straight “A” student and despite the fact that he is 3 years younger than Nicholas, will test for his Black Belt in just over one year.


My loving wife Laura is my support in my dark hours, my trumpeter in my golden hours and my greatest fan at all hours. It is incredible how Laura can keep up with a household full of children, me and her own career as a prison doctor. For that matter, I don’t know how she does her job at all! She is as amazing as she is beautiful.


My mother Jean is a true force of nature. A nurse for over 30 years, a business woman who has run several businesses and the mother of 6/grandmother of 16, “Mom” is the matriarch who challenged each of her children to be better. She has always believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself; not because she is blinded by love, but because she sees in me what I could not… greatness.


I write this not just to brag about my family, but to say,


“Thank You!”


Thank you for being the source of my strength, even though you think I am the source of yours.


Thank you for being the light that pierces my darkness, even when you look to me to light your path.


Thank you for being the port in my storm and the strong walls of my home so that I can shelter you when you need me.


Thank you for being the greatest source of my emotional resilience and relationship resilience because without you I could not stave off disaster.


I don’t just write this because I need to say it; I wrote it because those I love need to see it. My father bragged to everyone about me except me. I never knew and I spent years wishing I had made him proud of me when he already was. I want those I love to know I am proud of them now. I want them to have the emotional resilience and relationship resilience that comes from this knowledge.


I also write this so that everyone who reads this knows the power and importance of saying “Thank You” and “I’m Proud of You” to the ones whom they hold dear. The gift of resilience is the only gift greater than love, because it comes from love.


I write this so that you learn to give the gift of resilience.

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High Alert Institute

4800 Ben Hill Trail
Lake Wales, FL 33898
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