In Case of Emergency, ICE Your Cell Phone
Posted on Monday, August 15th, 2005
The emergency room staff at Mercy Health/Love County Hospital and Clinic is urging cell users to “ICE your cell phone.”
That doesn’t mean stick the phone in the freezer or beneath an icepack. ICE refers to a simple initiative to make medics’ job easier when aiding an unconscious or disoriented patient.
Under ICE, cell users would put the letters I-C-E, meaning “In Case of Emergency -- before the names of people they want to designate as next of kin in their cell address book. For example, an entry might read ICE Mom or ICE Husband.
Having ICE entries will save time for paramedics or first responders who often must scroll through cell phones to try to figure out which name to call when the cell user becomes incapacitated and unable to provide contact information.
Hospital administrator Richard Barker said he recently used a cell address book to reunite an emergency room patient who had been traveling in a two-car caravan on I-35 with other family members. “The cars became separated. The man who was brought to the ER was driving alone and was disoriented but had a cell phone. We had to call several numbers from his cell address book but managed to track down the relatives he had been traveling with. ICE could have led us directly to their names.”
Barker and emergency room supervisor Tad Hall cautioned that ICE is not a substitute for an identification card, and that everyone should carry ID with them that includes contact information.
“ICE is a good backup program but should not be a person’s sole source of providing information,” Hall said.
“It’s something to do in addition to an ID card that contains medical information and the names of emergency contacts. In a wreck, cellphones can get displaced or damaged or become unusable.
“We think people should add ICE to their cell phone, but only after they have put the same information on a card in their wallet,” Hall said.
Hall said the ICE initiative has been circulating the past several weeks among police, fire departments, and hospitals in the U.S. and Britain.
“We thought it was a valid idea to implement in Love County immediately, and we forwarded the idea to the emergency services office that we report to in the Oklahoma Department of Health to bring up for discussion as a possible statewide initiative,” Hall said.