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Mobile Messages Focus On Health And Safety Issues Facing Students
Updated August 9, 2016 6:58 AM
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - Innovation and technology merge for a back-to-school program that uses mobile and social media messaging to specifically target cell phones on college campuses and high school student populations.

The mobile messages focus on health and safety issues facing students, including alcohol awareness and signs of alcohol poisoning and illustrate how to get help if faced with a medical emergency as well as tips on how to protect themselves and their friends under Indiana's Lifeline Law while calling or Texting 911.

This is the first major public awareness initiative targeting college campuses to increase awareness about 'Text-to-911'. The year-long public education campaign is initially funded with nearly $100,000 through a partnership of: Indiana's Statewide 911 Board, Chairpersonof the Statewide 911 Board Treasurer of State Kelly Mitchell; Indiana Youth Services Association and its Make Good Decisions Initiative; Indiana Lifeline Law Author and Senator Jim Merritt; The BOB & TOM Show, and other supporters of the Make Good Decisions program.

"This is one of the best ways to communicate with people like Brett and his friends," says Dawn Finbloom, the mother of Brett Finbloom who died of alcohol poisoning on August 5, 2012, exactly four years ago this week. "His friends just thought he had too much to drink and that he would be okay. They were afraid of getting in trouble and waited too long before calling 911. They didn't know about the Lifeline Law. Teenagers may not be scared to text 911, because they wouldn't have to 'talk' to anyone. Knowing the signs of alcohol poisoning and being able to text 911, coul help save lives," says Finbloom.

The mobile messaging targets students across Indiana using "digital domes" - like a blanket over college campuses and large high school events - throughout the next school year. The ads and video messages are delivered through social media apps, and other popular mobile phone apps, when students access them on campus. Many of the 'text messages' featuredin the ads are based upon actual emergency text conversations received by IN911.

College student Mitch Tabler saved his friend's life at a fraternity party after recognizing the signs of alcohol poisoning. He was friends with Brett Finbloom and learned the signs after Brett died.

"Everyone at the party was scared they would be arrested for drinking alcohol. Before I contacted 911 that night, I had to explain how the Lifeline Law would protect people at the party from prosecution. I don't think college kids would be as afraid to ask for an ambulance if they knew about the Lifeline Law and the seriousness of alcohol poisoning." Tableradds, "Girls who have been drinking and been sexually assaulted are sometimes afraid to call 911 because they don't want to actually talk to anyone. This campaign could really help students learn how to help someone in trouble.

"911 operators are required to call back any number if the caller hangs up or is disconnected. 80% of the time, the person doesn't answer. We find that when the 911 Center texts the number to ask if there is an emergency, most of the texts are answered and say it was an accidental 'pocket dial'," says Lt. McAtee says. "That saves 911 telecommunicators valuable time to answer other emergency calls."



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