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



Three Rules of Social Media Marketing for Businesses Large and Small

by | Nov 18, 2010

Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have put the power of the media in hands of the average citizen.  Entrepreneurs, information marketers, and college students have learned that they can be the media for audiences both large and small.  They have also learned that the nightly news and the traditional print media will share their stories. This shift in the “power of the press” carries with it three rules of social media marketing for businesses large and small. These three rules are:


  • Silence is not golden…it’s guilty.


  • The first story told is the story most retold…and the story most believed.


  • Buzz is the bomb…it can propel you to the top, or blow up in your face.


Silence is Not Golden…It’s Guilty


In high school science, we learn that nature abhors a vacuum.  Well nowhere is this more true than on the internet.  If a business fails to comment on an event, good or bad, then the social media will rush in to fill the void around the corporate brand.  It’s very simple.  The construction of search engines and social media is such that there will never be silence associated with any brand.  


Whether the brand is the iPhone, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Disney, Universal Studios, or an unknown convenient store on the corner of Nowhere, USA; if something happens, somebody must comment.  That is the nature of the internet and the social media in the 21st century.  With the advent of internet enabled cell phones, YouTube enabled smart phones, text messaging and location enabled Twitter, everybody is not just a news reporter; they are a video historian.  Watch the evening news in any market, anywhere in the world, and you will see YouTube video broadcast about a news event that has happened that day.  Nothing is more powerful than eyewitness testimony, both in a court of law and on the six o’clock news.  


It is important to remember that is not the occasional user of the social media who is making these reports; it is the regular blogger, the regular Twitter broadcaster, the regular YouTube poster, who is making these reports.  They have followers and their followers have followers.  The average reach of these individuals is over 20,000, and their audience is reliable.  This means that corporations cannot just broadcast a message in the social media when something happens, corporations must have a presence 24/7. The social media presence of a corporation must be part of an ongoing plan and deliberate social media optimization process that ensures that the corporation has an audience, and that the corporate audience is larger than that of any client or customer who may come through their door.  


The First Story Told is the Story Most Retold and the Story Most Believed


The social media is a cultural phenomenon based on a conglomerate of social norms and behaviors that span age groups and demographics.  And as a result, the rules are difficult for many entrepreneurs and executives to negotiate.  But one of the rules that is constant across all social media platforms is the first story told is the first story believed. Further, in the social media, the first story about a major event, positive or negative, will be retold, retransmitted and shared among social media users.  The first story told in the social media will be converted to email and resent. The first story told is also the most likely story to make the transition to traditional media, in other words, it will become news.  Because of this, it is not enough to respond when a message appears on one of the popular social media platforms, such as Facebook for Twitter.  Instead, when an event occurs, a business must have a prepared statement ready to transmit immediately through an established social media optimization program to ensure that the corporate message is first story told.  Ideally, this corporate message will even precede those messages, blogs, tweets, and YouTube postings that may be coming from those customers actually involved as participants in the event.  


And don’t believe for a second that blocking cell phone communications, disconnecting Wi-Fi, shutting down internet or in some other fashion, disrupting access to the social media will delay negative social media messages.  This has been tried by major governments around the world and in every instance, not only has it in fact accelerated the rate that these messages have been transmitted, but increased the negative sentiment attached to the event. Ironically such attempts to block social media messages actually expanded the reach of every message that the perpetrators attempted to block.  


The great Vince Lombardi once said, “the best defense is a strong offense.”   In the social media, nothing could be more true.  The only way to counter a negative message is to send your positive message, even before the first negative message can be transmitted.  


Buzz is the Bomb…It Can Propel You to the Top, or Blow Up in Your Face


W.C. Fields once said, “I don’t care what you say about me, so long as you spell my name correctly.”  In the social media, W.C. Fields’ advice would be disastrous.  What is said absolutely matters.  The sentiment surrounding the brand determines the degree of influence that a message has and it determines the action taken by those who receive the message.  The goal of all marketing is to influence potential clients and potential customers to make a purchase.  In the social media, that means that they must be influenced to reach for the mouse, reach for the credit card, reach for their wallet and make the purchase.  


Buzz is the bomb.  A positive buzz, means that there is positive message activity around your brand.  There is positive buzz when people are sending your message to their friends, their friends are sending your to other friends and it all influences someone to make that positive buy decision.  


If the sentiment surrounding your message is negative, buzz can blow up in your face.  Research shows that a negative message will be sent on four times more frequently than a positive message, thus doing four times the damage, influencing four times as many people not to buy.  


W.C. Fields was wrong, it is not good enough that your name is spelled correctly, something good must be said as well.  The easiest way to ensure that something good is said, influence those who influence others to say something good about you.  Again, this is done by having a constant positive presence in the social media, even before anything noteworthy happens at your company, at your place of business, in your brand.  


There are three rules of social media marketing for businesses large and small. Turn on the news any night and you will see big business that have failed to follow these three simple rules.  Whether it is a cruise ship with a passenger falling overboard and 124,000 tweets telling the story of how they left him behind, or it is a major amusement park with the most anticipated themed ride in a decade breaking down, trapping riders for 45 minutes and generating 50 YouTube uploads.  To succeed in the social media remember: Silence is not golden, businesses must be in the social media early, regularly, and constantly.  The first story told is the first story retold.  To be the one telling your story, influencing others to retell your story, businesses must take ownership of that message, or someone else will fill the void and tell your story for you from their perspective.  And finally, buzz is the bomb.  That buzz must be positive, so that the bomb does not blow up in your face.  

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