Most people think of tech as a necessity or a luxury. But tech can also be a life saver.
What Is ICE?
ICE, which stands for In Case of Emergency, is a listing you can add to your contacts in your cell phone to tell emergency responders, such as paramedics, police officers and fire fighters, whom to call if you have suffered a trauma and can’t tell them yourself. Having ICE in your contact list means emergency responders can immediately call a loved one to inform him or her about your circumstances and find out if you have any medical issues of concern.
ICE is also important for children with cell phones to have in their contact list so parents can be called immediately in the event of an injury to their child.
You can add more than one ICE contact. Some people add multiple contacts: ICE 1, ICE 2, ICE 3, etc. If your cell phone has a Notes section in the contact list, you can add any medical information such as allergies, medical conditions, etc.
Another reason to have ICE in your contact list is that a Good Samaritan who finds your lost phone can call your ICE number to find out how to return your phone to you.
The great thing about ICE is that it’s free. Anyone can use it. You don’t need a smartphone or an app, just a cell phone.
How Does ICE Work?
Here is a YouTube video that was posted by the town of Monterrey Park, California showing how ICE works in action.
As the video shows, ICE is also helpful to know about in case you ever discover someone in distress.
How Did ICE Get Started?
ICE was the brilliant idea of a British paramedic, Bob Brotchie, who identified a need to contact loved ones of patients and victims. Many emergency responders in the UK, Europe, Australia and North America have been trained to look for ICE when a person is unable to communicate due to accident, injury or illness.
The State of Illinois in the US has mandated training for emergency personnel so they will know to look for an ICE listing in a cell phone.
What About Smartphones That Are Password Protected?
If you have a smartphone that requires a password to access your contact list, what then? There’s an app for that. Actually, there are quite a few ICE apps in the iTunes App Store and the Android Market.
Try to find an ICE app that puts emergency contact information on your lock screen. You don’t want an emergency responder to have to hunt for an ICE app on your phone, even if you have the app on your home page. If the ICE message is on your lock screen, the responder will see it immediately.
For the iPhone, check out ICE – In Case of Emergency in the iTunes App Store by Minute Apps for $1.99. Here is the link: ICE iPhone App. This app has the advantage of letting you put your emergency contact information on your lock screen and add vital information such as medical conditions, blood type, physician contact information and insurance information.
For Android phones, check out Emergency Information (ICE) in the Android Market for $1.99. Here is the link: Emergency Information (ICE). This app does not put the contact information on the lock screen, but does the next best thing. The app puts a widget on the lock screen that alerts the responder to press the icon. The app then overrides the lock screen and opens the app. The app also allows calls to be made to your ICE contact(s) directly from the app.
Here is a picture of the app on the lock screen:
Not Everyone Loves ICE
ICE is not without controversy. There are some who claim that emergency responders should be busy trying to attend to your medical needs, not making phone calls. Some people worry that a cell phone thief might use the ICE contact number to wrangle credit card information from loved ones, while leading them to believe that you are in desperate straights.
Although some people perceive issues with using ICE, I still believe ICE is a useful way to alert emergency responders to your vital contact information. If you also believe ICE is useful, please add ICE to your contact list now. And if you’re a parent with a child who has a cell phone, consider adding your contact information in an ICE listing on your child’s phone as well.
Do you have an ICE contact on your cell phone? Do you have an ICE app you recommend? Let us know in the Comments section below!
* Image by Trey Ratcliff
** Image by kaet44