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.

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Climate Change

Wind speeds are increasing, solar days are decreasing, and global temperatures are rising. And these environmental shifts are affecting the health of flora, fauna, and people on every continent.
The WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have identified environmental heat exposure as an evolving threat. Shifting global temperatures have been shown to increase stress levels and also increase the rates of aggression, bullying, verbal abuse, and workplace violence. Studies in several urban areas found that for every 2-degree rise in average yearly temperature, the rates of homicides, assaults, and suicides rose by 3%. Interestingly, these increases were mitigated by indoor environmental temperature and humidity control.
But most animals do not have the luxury of indoor-based interventions. Reducing their risks will require large coordinated efforts and starts with protecting their current environments.

Social Determinants of Health (SDoH)

SDoH refers to the non-medical factors impacting overall health. Noise pollution, poor air quality, and poor water quality are three environmental factors emphasized by the World Health Organization (WHO) that are strongly linked to one’s health and well-being. Ultimately, addressing SDoH is about employing new sources of data and technologies to look beyond traditional care models in support of a complete health strategy for humans, animals, and their environments.

Green Plans, Policies, and Budgets

The heart of a facility’s green practices often takes the form of a sustainable facility design, plan, and/or policy. In addition, a facility’s commitment to natural resource conservation and sustainability must be demonstrated by RESNET, Energy STAR, LEEDS, or other accreditation. Many facilities also opt to dedicate a portion of their annual budgets to green practices or reinvest savings from past green practices to fund subsequent ones. Our headquarters is the most energy-efficient renovation rated by, RESNET with a HERS rating of -63.

Sustaining a Negative Carbon Footprint

Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are a primary driving force behind modern global climate change. These gases are directly tied to human activity, resulting from a variety of industrial processes, burning of fossil fuels, agriculture, and deforestation. Because our facility operates using green energy solutions, the Institute significantly reduces GHG emissions and yields a negative carbon footprint.

Green Energy Solutions 

Accredited green facilities frequently track energy usage (i.e., electricity, natural gas, and propane) and make efforts either to purchase renewable energy or generate it on-grounds. Resources also are dedicated to energy conservation and efficiency measures, renewable energy, alternative transportation, GHG-limiting practices, and more.
Our on-site power generating capacity includes a grid-tied 15 kW wind turbine that is ultra-low noise and bird safe plus a grid-tied 45 kW solar photovoltaic system. These systems are backed up by a Kohler propane-fueled backup generator and expanded by separate solar hot water systems. Each month, the solar and wind systems together generate an average of 4 MWh of electricity.


Our facility is located in the Tiger Creek Nature Conservancy, adjacent to the Tiger Creek State Forest. As demonstrated by a recent Florida Dept. of Fish and Wildlife survey, there are 258 unique threatened and endangered species living within 5 miles of the Institute and our facilities have no impact on these species.

Local Feed/Local Food 

In the 2008 Farm Act, the US Congress defined a “locally or regionally produced agricultural food product” as one that is transported less than 400 miles from its origin or within the state in which it is produced. Many animal care institutions buy locally-grown feed, grow feed on-site, or specifically seek sustainably grown and harvested feed for their animals. We are fortunate to have a local feed manufacturer that is nationally recognized for quality and biosafety. Additionally, we buy animal and pond maintenance supplies locally. We also encourage staff and volunteers to buy their food locally from vendors who observe sustainable production practices.


Production of waste at any type of facility is inevitable. But the protocols used to manage, dispose of, and even reuse it is what sets green facilities apart. Our facility recycles 18 cubic yards of paper, cardboard, metal, glass and plastics yearly. For the past seven years, we have produced less than 1/2 cubic yards of landfill waste per annum. We compost and/or process 100% of our on-grounds plant waste and protein waste to fertilize gardens. The final stage of capital improvements will increase our on-grounds processing and reduce landfill further, to less than 3 cubic feet of waste annually.


Responsible water usage and management are central to the workings of all aquatic animal institutions. Our final capital improvements include a rooftop rainwater collection system and a filtration wastewater reclamation system that, when combined, will reduce on-site well water usage by over 90%.

Efficient Aquaculture

The single greatest expense in the operation of aquaponic facilities like fish farms and aquatic animal rescues/shelters is electricity accounting for up to 95% of their budget. Our efforts in shelter and rescue are focused on environmental stewardship. Reducing the carbon footprint of aquaponic facilities is an integral part of that effort both environmentally and economically. The High Alert Institute partners with renewable energy and energy monitoring/management companies to demonstrate energy-saving processes for adoption by the aquaponic industry. 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.

Our HERS Rating

The HERS Index measures a building’s energy efficiency and there are a lot of great reasons to have a building energy rating performed. A HERS rating can tell you how efficiently your building systems are operating and where you can make modifications for greater energy savings. A low HERS Index Score can command a higher building sale price. And when you’re buying a building, a HERS rating can help you can anticipate the costs of energy bills and the need for efficiency upgrades. The RESNET database contains the initial (pre-construction or pre-renovation) along with the projects and actual post-construction HERS ratings for every HERS-rated building in North America. The Institute’s Tiger Creek facility had a pre-renovation HERS rating of 91 (poor) and a projected post-renovation HERS rating of -48.

The Institute’s founders designed all the building modifications using standard building supplies selected for energy efficiency. While the Tiger Creek facility benefits from many energy efficiency systems including a translucent solar canopy, a low-noise wind turbine, automated fresh air ventilation systems, and LED lighting, all these systems were built using standard off-the-shelf materials and components. The facility’s actual post-construction HERS rating in 2017 was -63 despite having both a 50,000-gallon swimming pool and an aquaponic farm on site. This HERS rating made the Tiger Creek facility the 4th most energy-efficient building in North America, the most energy-efficient renovation in North America, and the only facility among the ten most efficient that had a swimming pool of any size.

Our Energy Future – Building for Sustainability

As we embark on the expansion of our aquaponic systems and aquatic pet shelter, we will more than double the total amount of water under filtration. Typically, this would more than double energy utilization, however, the design for the Institute’s expansion includes gid-tied solar that expanded our onsite geniting capacity to over 65kW. An additional off-grid renewable energy system will directly power the majority of the filtration and water circulation system. We estimate our final post-construction HERS Index will be better than -80. Our expanded aquaponic system will be an energy efficiency demonstrator for the animal care and aquaponic agriculture industries.

Hurricane Ian 2022 and the Institute

Energy Transparency – Live Energy Production and Consumption

The High Alert Institute is dedicated to mitigating the disastrous effects of SDoH and Climate Change on humans and the animals in their care. This commitment is at the heart of our Projects4Good, providing support for the development of technological intellectual property (IP) for the global good. We are proud to share our energy production and consumption data in real-time.

Our Good4Planet Partners

High Alert Institute

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

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