Emergency contact information vital to family readiness

Airmen are reminded to review such items as their virtual record of emergency data, or vRed, and personal information in the Virtual Military Personnel Flight at http://ask.afpc.randolph.af.mil. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

Airmen are reminded to review such items as their virtual record of emergency data, or vRED, and other personal information every year on myPers. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Airmen should review and update their virtual record of emergency data information annually and each time they experience a major life change, such as marriage or divorce, permanent change of station or birth of a child.

Better known as vRED, this online form replaced the paper Department of Defense Form 93, Record of Emergency Data, in 2003 as the way for active, Guard and Reserve Airmen to provide personal emergency information. Accurate information helps ensure families are cared for during a crisis and prevents unnecessary delays.

"As important as the vRED and life insurance documents are, recent data reveals that more than 46,000 Airmen across the Total Force have not reviewed or updated their vRED information, and more than 37,000 have not reviewed or updated their life insurance information in the past year," said Susie Hughes, Chief of Benefits and Entitlements, Air Force Personnel Center casualty services branch.

Updated personal emergency information gives Air Force casualty officials immediate access to critical information needed to contact family members if an Airman goes missing, suffers a serious illness or injury, or dies.

The vRED and life insurance election forms are the foundation of a survivor's benefits. Death gratuity and Servicemembers Group Life Insurance disbursement can happen in fewer than five days, which ensures surviving family members have critical funds to rely on until other monthly benefits and entitlements can be established. However, seven percent of Airmen had marital status, dependent and home address changes in the past year. Without updates to their vRED or Life Insurance election, the result could be benefits paid to someone other than those who members would want to receive them, had they updated this critical data.

According to Hughes, who has worked in the casualty services mission since 1988, outdated or inaccurate emergency contact information can cause painful delays for families who have recently lost a loved one.

"I had the solemn duty of reporting casualties and assisting families through their darkest hours," said Hughes. "I had to answer the 'What's next?' question for the Airman's survivors. That can be especially challenging if a deceased member's vRED is not up to date. Imagine explaining to a next of kin that their loved one's information does not name them as a beneficiary."

Hughes said this is an easily preventable problem. "Airmen should carefully consider how their designations on the vRED and SGLI form will impact their loved ones. Airmen are encouraged to discuss their decisions with their loved ones to help prevent additional hardship during a time of grief."

The vRED can be accessed through the myPers website at https://mypers.af.mil. Once at the myPers home page, Airmen should click the "Update my virtual Record of Emergency Data" link and follow instructions. The form takes most people about 15 minutes and requires information on relatives and their addresses and phone numbers.

Airmen must complete a SGLV Form 8286 to designate an SGLI beneficiary. This can be accomplished by visiting the customer support section of the Military Personnel Flight on their installation. Airmen can view their current election and designation using the Personnel Records Display Application within the virtual MPF.

For more information about vRED or SGLI, contact a casualty assistance representative at the nearest Air Force Base.

For more information about Air Force personnel programs, go to the myPers website. Individuals who do not have a myPers account can request one by following these instructions on the Air Force Retirees Services website.