TIFF Ambassador Spotlight- Sheriff Rick Wells
by Jennifer A. Kelly
Posted on 2018-10-16
Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells has worked with Christine for a number of years as a supporter and advocate of TIFF’s Initiative. Sheriff Wells sees the need for an Emergency Contact Information (ECI) system in very pragmatic terms. When asked how this initiative has had an impact on the protocol officers follow at the scene of an accident, Wells emphasized the reduction of time spent searching for next of kin. In the chaos of an accident scene, especially one that includes individuals who have been severely injured or even killed, it’s of utmost importance to find out who the individual is.
Prior to TIFF’s initiative, law enforcement would have to send officers to make phone calls and knock on doors, hoping to find the accident victim’s next of kin. This process would take at best several hours and often several days to complete. Thanks to TIFF’s Initiative, law enforcement can now “pull up the information on the laptop we have in the car and to immediately find that next of kin information,” according to Wells. “It’s taken something that used to take hours- at best- and reduced it to just a few minutes.”
This, of course, presumes that the individual in question has already registered with TIFF and has consistently kept their information current. While the process of discovering the identity of individuals at the scene of an accident and notifying their next of kin is still not a perfect one, it becomes much more streamlined and far less time consuming when ECI is current and available. Wells reiterated that for law enforcement, TIFF’s Initiative not only reduces the time and manpower spent searching for next of kin, it also provides a comfort to first responders in knowing they have a specific place to start looking- the ECI database. This lowers stress levels significantly for officers, allowing them to do their job more efficiently and thoroughly.
Finally, Sheriff Wells pointed out that there really is no person who should NOT be registered with TIFF. While we most often think about and focus on car accidents, having your ECI on hand is important in any medical event or in any situation where first responders would be on the scene. Think of cyclists, pedestrians, boaters, anyone with a medical condition, senior citizens who live alone… the list is endless and most likely includes you or someone you love. By using TIFF, you link your ECI with your driver’s license or personal ID, making it simple and efficient for law enforcement to find and notify your next of kin in the event of an emergency. If you still have not registered with TIFF, please do so today. It’s quick and free and could make a world of difference to you and your loved ones. If you have registered but need to update your information, let this be your reminder to do so right away. When we all do our part, we can be the change we want to see.
“You’ll never know how much you need it until YOU need it.” ~Jon Stuart, SCORE mentor