The Bannock County Coroner’s Office is asking the public to consider registering their next-of-kin.
The Coroner’s Office recently signed up to use the Next of Kin Registry (NOKR) International Emergency Contact System to establish a database of local emergency contacts.
Bannock County residents can register their emergency contact and save vital medical information that can be accessed by law enforcement in the event of an emergency.
“Nobody enjoys thinking about their death or the death of their loved ones, but planning is essential to making a difficult process simpler,” said Coroner Torey Danner.
Danner was sworn in as Coroner in August 2021. During his first year as Coroner, Danner has found ways he’d like to improve the office, one of which is shortening the amount of time it takes to notify next of kin after a family member dies.
“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 said.
The Coroner’s Office can access certain records to locate next of kin, but sometimes records are inaccurate, out-of-date, or just don’t exist. The delayed notification can impact the family’s grieving process, Danner said.
“I think it can amplify their emotions because it expedites the urgency to start planning or executing plans, which can make an already difficult process even more challenging when it feels rushed,” Danner said.
Part of the next of kin notification process includes determining the family or decedent’s funeral home preference and end-of-life plans. Without this information, it can delay or complicate any planned arrangements.
“Between the grief and planning arrangements and everything else, we want to do our part in limiting what the family has to go through,” Danner said.
With this in mind, Danner set out to find a secure, easy-to-use, and free service that could house this type of sensitive data. He found the Next of Kin Registry (NOKR), used by agencies across America, including Orange County, Calif., Maricopa County, Ariz., and FEMA.
The NOKR is a free emergency contact system to help reach a person’s next of kin in the event of a missing, injured, or deceased family member. Established as a non-profit humanitarian organization in 2004, NOKR serves as the United States central depository for emergency contact information.
- There is no fee to add contact information to your record
- Minors under age 18 must have a parent or legal guardian as their primary contact
- Those age 18 and older may list anyone as a primary contact
- Contact information is stored in a secure database accessible only by law enforcement and government emergency services who are registered with NOKR
To register your next of kin, visit bannockcounty.us/coroner and click the link to register in English or Spanish. For more information about NOKR, visit nokr.org.