With the mass quarantine across the US, many people are now finding the time to complete important tasks they have pushed aside or neglected. Now is a good time to register an emergency contact number on your Florida driver’s license or ID card.
This is a simple process that takes only a couple of minutes and does not cost any money. All it requires is for a driver to go to www.toinformfamiliesfirst.org then to click “Register Now” and select their state. From there, a driver can enter two emergency contacts, which can be changed at any time.
This important emergency information is then stored in the database connected to the magnetic strip of the driver’s license. This can be invaluable in the case of an accident or medical emergency, as it lets the police and emergency responders know who to contact. It is especially useful at a time like this, as many hospitals around the world are being overrun by COVID-19 patients, so speed and efficiency are key.
This is important in the event of a traffic accident and other emergencies. Many are currently worried about the coronavirus, especially the at-risk older generations and people with pre-existing conditions. If you or a relative falls ill in public as a result of the coronavirus and must be escorted to the hospital, the emergency contact information could make it much easier and faster for your family to be notified. This is important for older people, as they are less likely to have this information saved in the medical emergency app on their mobile phones, so a driver’s license scan could be the only way of notifying family. Taking this step to add an emergency contact could mean the difference between finding out about a family member in the hospital immediately or finding out hours or days later.
The organization behind this crucial improvement to emergency notification is To Inform Families First, known as TIFF, which is dedicated to informing families first in the event of an emergency. The all-volunteer, nonprofit group has already implemented this new option of emergency contacts on driver’s licenses in fifteen states, and still working to bring this initiative to other states and the families who live there.
TIFF is working to make this available in other states as well and is looking in the short-term towards making this available in Michigan and Wisconsin.
The founder of TIFF, Christine Olson, has a personal connection to this cause. When her daughter Tiffiany passed away in a fatal accident, Olson was not notified for several hours, thus inspiring her to create an organization to help prevent such cases for others.
About this inspiration for starting TIFF, Olson said, “When my daughter was killed in a fatal crash Dec. 7, 2005, no system was in place or ever created. Because of that, it took 6 ½ hours for me to be notified. I was 15 minutes away watching a movie, drinking my hot tea and probably paging through a magazine.”
Olson is now using her experience to inspire others to make a change. This can be as simple as taking a few minutes to register an emergency contact or it could be volunteering for the TIFF initiative. Volunteers can help in a wide variety of ways, from handing out materials at public events to creating social media organizations to contact political and community leaders to bring TIFF to their home state. TIFF uses your skills to help, wherever your talent lies, from writing to public speaking to community organizing. With the help of volunteers and supporters, TIFF can expand its outreach to more states and make sure that no one has to go through what Christine Olson did and that my story does not become theirs.
TIFF just went live in Texas on January 1 of this year, making Texas the 15th state to implement our simple, trustworthy emergency contact system. “We’re so excited to welcome our fellow Texans on board! If you are a Texas resident, or know someone who is, please encourage them to go online, take two minutes to register for free, and spread the word,” said Olson. “We challenge all of our readers and supporters to tell five who may not know about TIFF in the next month, and ask them to do the same. Together we can keep the momentum going and ensure that TIFF quickly becomes the standard for first responders in Texas. Our ultimate goal is to have TIFF active in every state, so the addition of Texas marks the 20 percent mark in our journey,” she said.
For more information about TIFF, or to volunteer, contact: Christine Olson at Christine@helptiff.org.
Register free here in your participating state.
Participating states include: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia.