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 Road Less Traveled: Remediating PFAS Pollution in Our Lifetime – Part 2

by | Jan 19, 2023

The Road Less Traveled: Remediating PFAS Pollution in Our Lifetime – Part 2

Authors:  Mark Goldfeder, MS, NRP, and Maurice A. Ramirez, DO, PhD

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu (Chinese Philosopher)

“The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.” – Mark Caine (Environmental and Climate Policy Expert)

Current approaches to the large-scale remediation of environmental toxins and pollutants are burying, burning, and storing the offending material. While most chemical compounds require only a few decades to break down naturally, radioactive materials require centuries to decay and PFAS (per- or poly-fluoroalkyl substances) chemicals take millennia. The challenges of removing (remediating) these “Forever Chemicals” that contaminate our air, water, soil, and food supply were the focus of Part 1 of this article. PFAS cannot be eliminated from food animals or people until these toxins are remediated from the environments in which we live, work, learn, play and worship. In Part 2, we will describe an emerging remediation method that has demonstrated effectiveness against PFAS substances and is also cost-efficient, scalable, and environmentally friendly. 

Technology known as Supercritical Water Oxidation (SCWO) has been around for more than 30 years.  Water, oxygen, heat, and pressure are combined in the presence of a catalyst (non-toxic substance that speeds the reaction) to cause toxic substances to break down rapidly. The end products from this process are merely clean water and harmless, inert salts. While other methods of environmental remediation are still in the testing and development phases, SCWO already can be used at the commercial level to destroy stored toxins and leftover chemicals from manufacturing processes. Scientific researchers and industrial engineers maintain a growing database of ways to employ SCWO technologies, each with a customized “recipe” for removal of a specific chemical or toxin. Combining the content of this database with published scientific equations, researchers and engineers have elevated SCWO technology to full-scale remediation applications. Examples of these applications are the remediation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), fluorinated hydrocarbons (FHCs), sewage sludge, and chemical weapons. 

One of the newest SCWO applications is the successful destruction of PFAS-contaminated firefighting foam, which otherwise would add to the PFAS contamination of surrounding soil and water table. This advancement offers an exciting opportunity to bring true PFAS remediation to our communities. To meet the global challenges of PFAS-contaminated water and soil, this technology can be adapted to suit both large- and small-scale set-ups, as well as the removal of byproducts left over from any other PFAS-reduction technologies that were less environmentally friendly.

SCWO presents significant environmental advantages for the treatment of chemical wastes. First, the salt byproducts are easily separated from the cleaned water and cleaned soil. Unlike some other methods, SCWO does not replace one pollutant with another. Second, facilities for SCWO remediation not only remove PFAS contamination but many other industrial wastes and environmental pollutants. This allows for a much greater return-on-investment for any community or business as the same remediation equipment will be available to process numerous unwanted substances. Third, with the general approach solidified, researchers can focus on ways to maximize the environmental impact of widespread application of SCWO, such as developing uses for the salt byproducts and adapting the technology for use on mobile platforms.

Before widespread use of SCWO technologies to remediate PFAS pollution can be implemented, the appropriate regulatory framework to govern testing and remediation effectiveness will need to be in place. Enforceable mandates for remediation of air, water, soil, food, manufacturing, workplaces, and consumer products are key components to successful elimination of PFAS and other currently unregulated pollutants. Without these mandates, the funding needed to bring PFAS remediation to every neighborhood, water source, food supply, and habitat will not exist.

Regulatory limits on PFAS-related chemicals are a critical step, but will take time and are not the only actions to be taken. Avoidance of PFAS-containing products by consumers and the replacement of PFAS compounds with safe alternatives by manufacturers are essential steps that can be implemented now. However, these measures will not stop the growing levels of PFAS-bioaccumulation. Municipalities and industries need to adopt effective, environmentally friendly, and commercially scalable PFAS remediation technologies like SCWO to address and eliminate PFAS pollution now. Implementation funding must be supplied by governments, industry stakeholders, and PFAS manufacturers for the installation and operation of SCWO remediation facilities. Finally, and arguably most importantly, the organizations and leaders striving to accomplish these vital goals require our unwavering support. Let the health and safety of all individuals, families, communities, and habitats be our “forever” legacy – not our toxic waste.

The other fork of the road – the one less traveled by – offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.” – Rachel Carson


About the Authors:

Mark Goldfeder, MS, NRP, is the Founder and President of Five Bugles Institute, a provider of safety, leadership, and technical education nationally for over a decade. A 30-year veteran firefighter and paramedic, he is the co-author of Five Bugles Institute’s PFAS remediation and replacement educational program. Learn more about Five Bugles Institute’s research at


Maurice A. Ramirez, D.O., Ph.D. is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Disaster Medicine and Co-Founder of the High Alert Institute, a 501c3 not-for-profit educational public charity dedicated to providing disaster readiness education and resources to unserved and underserved communities, industries, and charitable organizations in an All Hazards, One Health/One Nature, One Framework paradigm. Learn more about the High Alert Institute at


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