ICE - In Case of Emergency - a cell phone tip


One of the difficulties faced by emergency services personnel or EMTs is how to locate next of kin or obtain necessary information about a victim who is unconscious, dead, or otherwise unable to respond to questions.

Even if the victim is carrying some form of identification such as a driver's license, those items don't necessarily provide information about how relatives or other important persons can be reached. This results in delays as emergency services personnel or EMTs try to track those people down.

This problem has been addressed through a variety of means over the years and many people have taken to carrying lists of emergency contacts and or vital medical details in their purses and wallets, or wearing items such as bracelets and necklaces with vital information engraved on them.

Bob Brotchie, a paramedic from Britian came up with the idea of getting people to store "In Case of Emergency" (ICE) information on their cell phones. The idea is for people to enter ICE information into the address books of their cell phones. Emergency services personnel or EMTs upon finding a cell phone on a victim can use the ICE number to call and get information about you that may save your life. Please keep in mind that ICE entries can be very valuable to hospital personnel, too.

We encourage you to enter emergency numbers into your cell phone under the heading of ICE. If possible add a dash and a word to help like ICE - SPOUSE or ICE - DAD; we're sure you get the idea.

Image of a cell phone

Please understand that ICE is not something that Paramedics will rush to look for the instant they arrive at an emergency and with so many types and brands of cell phones, it can take precious minutes to learn how to access a phone's directory. Please also understand that if you lock your cell phone with a password or PIN it will be useless for this purpose. Also know that in an accident it is common for a cell phone to be damage and not usable. For these reason be sure that you add ICE to your cell phone only after you've affixed similar information to (or near) the identification you routinely carry in your wallet.