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



The Outrage that Followed Gustav

by | Sep 1, 2008

One of the strongest hurricanes in the past 15 years was taking deadly aim at one of the most vulnerable places in the United States. The storm was hurricane Gustav; the place, New Orleans, Louisiana. Two years almost to the day since hurricane Katrina had decimated New Orleans, the city was undertaking a voluntary evacuation as the unthinkable approached, a Category 4 hurricane. Fortunately, fate and maybe a little bayou magic shrank Gustav while the application of lessons learned in hurricane Katrina prepared the region for the unwanted visitor.


Gustav caused far less damage than many predicted and the media immediately told the nation that New Orleans had been spared. It was this news that began an outrage which threatens to undermine all that made New Orleans successful this time around. Within hours of the good news from media reporting from New Orleans, disaster healthcare and disaster medicine providers began receiving phone calls from their employers. Calls ranged from thinly veiled statements that the disaster responders had left work for no reason all the way up to threats of firing if the disaster responder did not abandon their duties and return immediately.


Disaster medicine and disaster response is not glamorous duty. Disaster healthcare providers from all professions willingly leave comfortable beds, hot meals, clean clothes, worried families and profitable jobs to place themselves in harm’s way, sleep in tents or on the floor of a warehouse, eat military rations and earn a paltry government stipend or no stipend at all. These brave and selfless men and women do so out of a feeling of duty and the selfless dedication to the most vulnerable and needy in our nation. There are precious few of these professionals as evidenced by the inability to fill all the needed positions for the response to hurricane Gustav. Disaster healthcare responders are truly everyday American heroes.


Those who deploy with federal disaster medical response teams receive job protection under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERA) in the same way that a National Guardsman or Reservist receives job protection, but while no employer would dare call a Reservist or Guardsman during their military service and threaten their job if the soldier did not desert and return home, healthcare employers seem to feel no compunction about indulging in such behavior when it comes to disaster responders.


Not only is the practice of calling disaster responders on deployment in an attempt to force them home outrageous, but many of the employers who perpetrate this offense are the self same facilities who enjoy the benefits of disaster response services when disaster strikes their community. 


Disaster field response work is incredibly stressful and there are a precious few who both have the requisite skills to be of value in a disaster healthcare environment and the resilience to sustain them in the disaster area through a standard two week deployment. Adding the stress of having their job threatened or knowing that even if not fired, every effort will be made to punish you in another fashion renders many disaster responders vulnerable to physical or emotional injury. History shows that confronted with this treat to their regular life, these responders cease to respond to disasters. Late in the afternoon on the day hurricane Gustav made landfall, one regional response headquarters had so many responders feeling that their jobs were at risk that the local commander was forced to offer all responders the opportunity to go home early without repercussions. 


Which brings us back to the risk of undermining all that made New Orleans successful this time around? New Orleans success hinged upon the ability to evacuate and the ability to medically care for those evacuated. In many situations, it was these disaster responders who provided that care. As more and more disaster healthcare providers feel that they must choose between helping a stranger and saving their career, some, possibly many, will choose to resign from disaster response, leaving New Orleans and the rest of the nation to fend for itself in the next disaster.


The Gustav outrage has happened it cannot be undone; the bell cannot be unrung. A few disaster responders went home, many more now worry that their jobs are soon to be lost. The next disaster it will be even harder to muster a full compliment of medical professionals across the full spectrum of needed specialties. The next disaster there will be more unfilled positions and even more unfilled need. In the end the nation will again be a greater risk, all because of the outrage that followed Gustav.

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High Alert Institute

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Lake Wales, FL 33898
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