Opinion

Marteny: Using your cell phone as emergency lifeline with ‘ICE’

More than 75 per cent of people carry no details of who they would like contacted in an emergency situation.

We all carry our cell phones with names and numbers stored in its memory but nobody, other than ourselves, knows which of these numbers belong to our closest family or friends.

It takes an average of five hours and 51 minutes for family members to be contacted in an emergency.

That is a long time to wait for news of a loved one who may be seriously injured or unable to communicate with emergency or medical personnel.

In Case of Emergency was an idea originally conceived in May, 2005 by Bob Brotchie, a paramedic in Britain.

He found that when he went to the scenes of accidents, there were always cell phones with patients, but he did not know which numbers to call.

He thought it would be a good idea if there was a nationally recognized name for this purpose. In an emergency situation, 911 emergency service personnel and hospital staff would be able to quickly contact the right person by simply dialing the number you have stored as “ICE.”

His idea was to have everyone add a contact in their cell phone named ICE.

This contact would be the name and telephone number of the person they would like contacted in the event of an emergency.

Many people today have an ICE contact in their cell phone.

At the scene of an accident, where there are casualties, you can make the job easier for first responders or rescue services by adding an entry in the contacts list in your cell phone under the label ICE with the names and phone numbers of people who should be called in case of an accident or injury.

Simply put, the acronym ICE before the names you want to designate as key contacts or next of kin—creating entries such as ICE1, ICE2 and ICE3, etc.

Inform your ICE contacts that you have chosen them as your designated contact and provide them with information that may affect your treatment.

This includes all current medicines you are taking, including herbal and organic supplements; allergies that you have, especially to medications but also to foods, doctors’ names and telephone numbers of other medical providers responsible for your regular care.

When seconds matter, by adopting the “ICE advice” your cell phone may help emergency and rescue services quickly contact a relative or friend who could be vital in a life or death situation.

ICE tags are now available to wear. The tag is ideal when used alongside ICE in the cell phone.

By having ICE in your phone as well as an ICE tag, you are doubling the probability of responders seeing it and your loved ones being notified promptly.

The tags are small enough to put on your key ring or on your sun visor, jacket, purse, school bag, running shoes. etc.

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