Here’s one thing most of us don’t think about – if we get into a horrible auto accident or suffer serious injuries at work or elsewhere, will our loved ones be able to get to us at a reasonable time. With cell phones in our pockets and purses, most of us think: “Yeah, sure!”
But think again. Is there a phone number in your cell phone that tells a complete stranger whom to call in case of an emergency? What if you are completely incapacitated after a major accident? What if you need emergency surgery? These disturbing questions are piquing Americans’ interest in what is called the In Case of Emergency or ICE campaign.
The ICE campaign started in the United Kingdom when British paramedic Bob Brotchie came up with the idea of asking cell phone users to input an entry into their cell phonebook called ICE, which stands for “in case of emergency.” Accompanying the letters “ICE” would be the name and phone numbers of the person who should be called if something were to happen to the owner of the cell phone.
According to a USA Today article the ICE campaign was launched in Britain in April 2005, but people sat up and paid attention to it after the terrorist bombings in London in July of that year when 56 people died and hundreds were injured. Now paramedics and other groups here in the United States are trying to get the awareness going on this issue.
For more than one contact name, you simply enter ICE1, ICE 2 and so on. If you have a medical condition, carrying a “File of Life” would be a good idea too. You could put information in there such as medical conditions, medications, allergies and so on and carry it around in an envelope or post it on your refrigerator because that’s one of the first places emergency personnel look when they come to your house for a medical aid. Entering ICE on a cell phone can be an especially good idea for children and teenagers who may have no driver’s license or photo identification.
Here are some other good tips to maximize the benefits of ICE:
• Make sure the person whose name and number you are giving has agreed to be your ICE partner.
• Make sure your ICE partner has a list of people they should contact on your behalf – including your place of work.
• Make sure your ICE person’s number is one that’s easy to contact, for example a home number could be useless in an emergency if the person works full time.
• Make sure your ICE partner knows about any medical conditions that could affect your emergency treatment – for example allergies or current medication.
• Make sure if you are under 18, your ICE partner is a parent or guardian authorized to make decision on your behalf – for example if you need a life or death operation.
• Should your preferred contact be deaf, then prefix the number with ICETEXT.