Bannock County coroner urges residents to register next of kin, emergency contact
POCATELLO — Bannock County Coroner Torey Danner is encouraging all residents to provide first responders with emergency contacts and next-of-kin information.
Danner’s office recently signed the county up to use a national database called the Next Of Kin Registry (NOKR). The registry compiles contact information accessible to first responders should police, ambulance or the coroner’s office need to contact them.
In explaining the benefits of the registry to EastIdahoNews.com, Danner referred to the registry as “another tool in our belts.”
“The best way to put it is, it helps us help you,” he said.
It is free to use for anyone who signs up and comes at no cost to the county, Danner said.
“Nobody enjoys thinking about their death or the death of their loved ones, but planning is essential to making a difficult process simpler,” Danner said in a news release from Bannock County. “It can take a long time to locate the next of kin. I recently had a case with a parent who lost their adult child, and it took us through the holiday weekend to locate the parent, even though both the child and the parent lived in the same city.”
Danner discovered the registry recently during a conference. As he described to EastIdahoNews.com, he was discussing ways to contact next of kin in the most timely manner possible when a coroner from another state told him about the registry.
“In these people’s time of need, we want to do everything that we can to (inform the family) in a timely fashion,” he said.
Danner was sworn in as the county coroner last August. During his first 12 months in the office, he has been searching for ways to serve the community better.
“This is us trying to be proactive in developing a system that will help us,” he said. “We’re trying to be better for you (residents), and this is the only way we can (do that) right now.”
The system requires information like the registering resident’s name, phone number and address, as well as the name, number and address of their emergency contact and next of kin. Danner said that it does not require much “sensitive information.”
Danner also said that there have been preliminary discussions into launching a similar statewide system.
“But in order to do that, you have to change legislation,” he said. “That is something that we are definitely going to work on, but that is a (time-consuming) process, and the need is here right now.”
There have also been discussions on a more efficient way to collect emergency contact information to be used by first responders — even adding it to the information collected when renewing a driver’s license.
But, as Danner said, there is a need right now. And that is why he and his office have signed Bannock County up to use this national database.
Once residents are registered, Danner added, it is essential to update any changes to your or your contact’s information.