ICE: In Case of Emergency

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ICE: In Case of Emergency

Some time ago we got a call from a friend who does training in hospitals. He told me that a number of people had called him, and told him that it was now becoming common for emergency rescue personnel, when dealing with an unconscious person, to look for a cell phone. If the person had a cell phone, they would look for a name preceded by the letters ICE, which stood for In Case of Emergency. We have subsequently received calls and e-mails from others in the field with the same message.

We did a little looking into this, and it seems the practice actually started in Great Britain in April, in conjunction with Vodafone’s annual Life Savers Awards. The program really took off after the July bombings in London that killed 56.

While we hope that neither we nor you ever have any need for these numbers to be used, we think this is a good idea. The upside of being identified in an accident exceeding the downside of having anyone who finds or steals your handset know who your emergency contact might be. We have programmed our cell phones accordingly. We would therefore urge each of you take the few minutes needed to change the name of the emergency contact in your phone to have ICE as the prefix.

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