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Phil Chave
Phil Chave
creator of Distant Healer

Join the ICE (In Case of Emergency) Campaign - Help rescuers and emergency services help you

Put Emergency ICE Numbers on Your Phone

In case of emergency (ICE) is a program that enables first responders, such as paramedics, firefighters, and police officers, and later on, hospital staff, to identify victims and contact their next of kin to obtain important medical information as soon as possible. The program was conceived in the mid-2000s and promoted by British paramedic Bob Brotchie in May 2005. It encourages people to enter emergency contacts in their cell phone address book under the name "ICE". Alternately, a person can list multiple emergency contacts as "ICE1", "ICE2", etc. The popularity of the program has spread across Europe and Australia, and has started to grow into North America.

Following research carried out by Vodafone that showed that fewer than 25% of people carry any details of who they would like telephoned following a serious accident, a campaign encouraging people to enter these ICE numbers into their mobile phones began in the UK. The idea has gained considerable momemtum since the July 7, 2005 London bomb attacks.

A particular difficulty faced by emergency services personnel is how to contact the next of kin of a victim, or to obtain vital medical information, when the victim is unconscious, otherwise unable to speak or respond to questions, or may even be dead.

Are there any drawbacks to this scheme?
Yes, there are drawbacks to every scheme.
  • A phone may become separated from the victim of an accident.
  • A dropped phone may be damaged and useless (most are remarkably resilient to impact).
  • If you have a PIN number set, others will not be able to access ICE numbers.
  • This is not meant to replace your ID bracelet, neck pendant, drivers license, wallet or purse for ID. It is 'in addition', not a replacement.
What should I do?
You can put the number of someone the police or ambulance staff should ring in an emergency. Think about someone who should know if you are hurt or in trouble. This might be someone in your family or a paid carer or a friend. It is important to think carefully about who you choose.

It may not be appropriate to put elderly parents if they are easily stressed or too ill to cope with the information right at the scene. It may be more appropriate to choose someone more able to cope in a time of crisis, a partner, for instance.

This person will be your ICE contact. Emergency staff will look on your phone for it. They will ring your ICE contact to tell them what has happened.

Go to the part of your phone where you add new names and numbers.
  • Type in ICE and the name of the person. (ICE1 - Parents) (ICE2 - Spouse)
  • Type in their phone number.
  • Press ‘save’.
You can have more than one ICE number if you need to. You can call them ICE1, ICE2 and ICE3.

Don’t forget to tell your ICE contact that you have put them as the emergency contact on your mobile phone. Also tell your friends to do the same on their phones. If your children have mobiles, don't forget to tell them how to do it...... On second thoughts...... Ask your kids how to do it!

Lastly, If your phone has a camera, take a picture of yourself and call it ICE - Me. This will identify you with the phone and tell the emergency services that they have the right person.

Note: There are a number of emails going round that say a virus will enter your phone and wipe your SIM card or charge you extortionate rates if you use ICE numbers. I'm sorry there are people like this in the world, but we have to put up with them. All these emails are fake and hoax emails. They prey on the fear of readers to spread their rubbish and scare people into making bad decisions.

The ICE number is exactly the same as making any other call. If you have free minutes in your phone contract, it will even be free. If you are PAYG, you will pay your normal call rate. In fact the number dialled will probably be in your phone already under another heading like, Mum or Dad. It's just that if everybody uses the ICE system, emergency staff know exactly where to go first. It may not be appropriate to dial 'Mum' if she is 90 and a bit frail, wouldn't you agree?
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DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

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