NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Emergency contact registration helps law enforcement reach families immediately during emergencies

Posted at 6:22 PM, Dec 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-09 22:14:05-05

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Grieving mother, Christine Olson, is the founder of Tiff's Initiative, a free online registration that helps law enforcement contact loved ones immediately in the event of an emergency.

Olson took action after losing her daughter in a motorcycle crash 14 years ago.

MANATEE NEWS | The latest headlines from Manatee County

"My heart is so broken for this loss every day, every day," said Christine Olson.

On Dec. 7, 2005, Olson's daughter Tifffany and her boyfriend were killed in a motorcycle crash after being hit by a drunk driver on U-S19 and 49th St. in Palmetto.

But Olson didn't find out about the incident until more than six hours later.

"I was at home 15 minutes away and I had no idea what was going on literally right down the street," said Olson.

When she finally heard that Tiffany had been hurt, Olson rushed to the hospital. She said deputies met her in the parking lot.

"They handed me a plastic bag of my daughter’s belongings and sent me home," said Olson.

Tiffany didn't make it.

After that horrifying experience, Olson wanted to make sure that no other family had to suffer the heartbreak that she did.

"Law enforcement does not know who to contact unless you tell them who to contact," said Olson.

So, she founded “To Inform Families First." TIFF's Initiative is an organization where people can go online for free and register their emergency contact information so law enforcement agencies can contact family members immediately in the event of an emergency.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is promoting the online registration program.

“Before Tiff's Initiative, law enforcement officers would spend hours and sometimes days trying to locate family members of a victim who had been seriously injured or killed. The Emergency Contact Information database that law enforcement officers now have access to has turned those hours or days into minutes,” said Rick Wells, Manatee County Sheriff.

Anyone living in Florida, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland or Texas can register using their driver's license 

More than 16 million people have already registered in Florida alone.

Olson says her goal is to have Tiffany’s life help others.

"It doesn’t get easier, it just doesn’t. But I know I’m making a difference for another family and so that’s my mission now," said Olson.

To register so your family can be contacted immediately in the event of an emergency visit, click here.