Make a New Year´s Resolution to Review Your Personal Safety Profile


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Making a New Year´s resolution to review your Personal Safety Profile could be better for your wellbeing than making a resolution to exercise more frequently – especially if the organization through which you created your Personal Safety Profile has changed service providers.

Each January, I sit down and write a list of the things I intend to do in order to be a better me. The list rarely changes from year to year and usually consists of losing weight, exercising more and eating healthily. This year, the first item I wrote on my list was REVIEW YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY PROFILE.

Like tens of millions of people across America, I have joined a service that allows me to create a Personal Safety Profile for my family (and the dog). In the event of an emergency, 9-1-1 dispatchers have access to the Personal Safety Profile and can better direct first responders to my home, can tell first responders how many people they can expect to find there, and advise them of any medical conditions or mobility issues (fortunately we have none at the moment, but you never know).

The service I joined advises members to review your personal safety profile every six months, but it is one of those things I never get around to (like losing weight, exercising more and eating healthily). Recently I read a news article that gave me an extra incentive to make the time and spend a few hours updating my family´s profile. The news article concerned the residents of the city of Elgin in Illinois, but the same scenario could happen in any location around the country.

What Happened in Elgin, Illinois

The City of Elgin in Illinois takes the safety of its residents seriously. For more than ten years, the city has paid for and maintained a mass notification service that alerts residents by SMS, voice broadcast and email in the event of an emergency. As city authorities only have access to fixed landline directories, residents who want to receive alerts by SMS or email on their mobile phones have to sign up to receive the notifications. It is a free service, so more than a thousand mobile users signed up.

What happened recently is the City of Elgin changed service providers. The new service provider – Smart911 – is cheaper for the city to maintain and gives residents the opportunity to create Personal Safety Profiles. The Personal Safety Profiles are displayed to 9-1-1 responders even if a resident calls 911 from their mobile (provided the mobile number is registered on their profile), but the problem is that the existing database of residents could not be imported from the old system to the new system.

To date, only five hundred residents of Elgin have signed up for the new service – implying there are another five hundred residents who think they are registered to receive emergency notifications, but who are not. City authorities are trying to get the word around as much as possible that people should reregister, especially as they intend extending the use of the service to warn residents of road closures, traffic congestion and other non-emergency (and often localized) events.

Why You Should Review Your Personal Safety Profile

The reason this news article prompted me to review my Personal Safety Profile was that so many residents of Elgin appear unaware the city´s service provider has changed. If my service provider had changed, I thought, I wouldn´t necessarily be aware of it either. In that case, first responders would not have information about my family fed to them as they were on route to attend any emergency at my home – information that could save minutes and save lives.

Fortunately, the service provider had not changed, but I glad I checked. My review revealed several areas that could be improved upon – such as the door code for my apartment block – and I also added my neighbor´s contact details just in case I was uncontactable during an emergency. I strongly recommend that you also review your personal safety profile to find out if it could be improved upon, to change anything that needs changing, and to add additional points of contact.

I still intend to lose weight, exercise more and eat healthily. Whether that will happen, who knows? One thing for sure I will do again this year is review my Personal Safety Profile. I have set up a reminder to review it again in June and put it at the top of my New Year´s Resolution list for next year. Will you make a New Year´s Resolution to review your Personal Safety Profile? It could be better for your wellbeing than making a resolution to exercise more frequently – especially if your service provider has changed.