TRANSFORM911Share Your Story

Share Your Story

We need your voice to help transform 911. There are many ways you can get involved, one of which is to spend a few minutes recording a video of your ideas and reactions to any of the questions below. You may also submit text via the form at the bottom of this page.

Because 911 impacts and involves us all, we need to learn from you, no matter your occupation, age, race, ethnicity, sexuality, disability status, or the language you speak. We particularly need to learn from individuals who are often left out of these conversations, including young people, people of color, survivors, and individuals who don’t speak English, speak English as a second language, or are deaf or hard of hearing.

Share your thoughts via video and help Transform 911 in 2 minutes or less!

Your Mission

Pick up a video camera device—your smartphone or computer—and record yourself/your family/members of your community reflecting on the 911 system.

We want to hear your thoughts about any of the below or similar questions:

  1. What does 911 mean to you?
  2. What words come to mind when you think of 911?
  3. Does 911 feel like a resource you can turn to?
  4. Do you have personal experience with the 911 system?
  5. How does 911 affect the health of you, your family, and your friends?
  6. Should 911 be changed? If so, what should be changed about 911?
  7. What kind of emergency responders are needed?
  8. Have you ever thought about calling 911, but ultimately did not? Why?
  9. If the 911 system was being newly-built today, what would you want it to include or not include?
  10. If the 911 system was perfect, what would that look like?
  11. What do the terms “public safety” and “public health” mean to you?

IMPORTANT: Make sure to answer the question by including the question in your answer. For example, if answering the question: What does 911 mean to you? You would answer it by saying: To me, 911 is… (fill in the blank)

We’d also appreciate photos and/or video footage from around your community, such as:

  • Landmarks/destinations such as community centers, parks, neighborhood signs, local government buildings
  • Family and/or friends (please get their permission first)
  • Scenic views of your neighborhood
Please note: Anyone who appears in your photos/footage (including yourself) needs to sign a consent form, available here.


Please email your video to If the file is too large to email, you may share it with through Google Drive, Dropbox, or another cloud storage service.

  • If you are willing for us to identify you by first name and city, please include these in your email (e.g. “Rebecca, Chicago”).
  • All videos will be captioned. If you share a video in a language other than English, please share the language (including sign language dialect) so that we can properly caption it. Or, if you prefer to provide translation, please share your captions along with your video.
  • If you are under 18 years of age or under other guardianship, please have your guardian share the video.

Your video will only be used for inspirational and educational purposes. By sharing your video, you are providing the UChicago Health Lab and the Transform911 initiative permanent and royalty-free permission for its use. We will not sell your video and will only use it for project purposes.

Your video will be added to a Transform911 library of video stories and thoughts from people across the country. Every submission will help achieve the goal of transforming 911. We value the time and thought put into each one.

Thank you for considering making your voice heard on this important subject!

Recording Tips

Before hitting record, consider a few things:

  1. Wipe
    Use a cloth or a cotton t-shirt to wipe your camera lens before recording anything. Dust and finger smudges can greatly impact the shot.
  2. Audio
    Built-in microphones on mobile devices are very limited. Try to get as close as possible to the person you are filming. Make sure there are no cars driving by, beeping from alarms, or cellphones – anything that can interfere with the audio.
  3. Lighting
    Cameras on mobile devices work better with as much light as possible, so avoid dark areas. Try to avoid having the sun, bright lights, or windows pointing directly into the shot.
  4. Shot Composition
    On mobile devices, zooming is limited and easily pixelated. If you can, physically move the camera forward, back or side to side, to fill up your frame and try to stabilize the device as best you can. A good tip is to lean up against something. If you have a tripod or flat surface nearby, that will work great as well.
Share your Story in Writing

Share your Story in Writing

Transform911 knows that no two interactions with the nation’s emergency response system are the same. As the project works to convene a broad cross section of participants, we ask you to share your thoughts. Whether a personal story about your experiences with the 911 system, details about a pilot program from your community, or an expert perspective about how to achieve change, we want to hear from you.


Help us Transform911.

The Health Lab strives to improve public health, its impacts, and how it is discussed. If you identify an area of our work that you believe misses a critical perspective or employs language that needs improvement, please contact us at We welcome your feedback.