In case of emergency

What is now a common mobile practice to ensure safety began as a movement in London in 2004. After the London bombings of that year, a group of concerned citizens suggested that mobile users begin storing emergency contact details on their devices to make them readily available. In case of the unthinkable, emergency personnel would be able to easily identify which among the often hundreds of contacts would be the best to call during a crisis. Numbers were initially stored in phones in an address book entry that was named ICE, or “in case of emergency.” Today, the idea of ICE contact storage has spread to countries across the globe. Smartphones make it easier than ever to store emergency content to a mobile, including much more than a simple phone number. You can even equip your mobile phone with information about blood type, allergies, religious preference and more.

However, it seems that feature phones often make ICE contact data difficult to locate, both for designating contacts and locating them in case of emergency. Hidden in your contact list, these important details cannot be used in the face of tragedy. Sometimes, emergency phone calls are seriously delayed and emergency contacts are not reached in time. If you do not want to risk your ICE information being buried in your address book or application pile, there are several options and front-page apps that put urgent messages in easy reach for emergency personnel.

The most basic way to store ICE information on your mobile is with a sticky note “pasted” to your wallpaper. Your mobile phone may come with a stick note feature, or you may need to download one from the smartphone application market. There are several free options for sticky notes. The drawback to this option is that numbers stored in the file cannot be instantly dialed. Instead, those accessing your phone to find ICE contacts must memorize numbers or use their own phone to make the call, which may not be ideal in many emergent situations.

phone contact data

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/goldenswamp/2790584534/

Searching the Store for “In Case of Emergency” will display a number of applications that are designed to store emergency contact information, allergies, current medications and insurance data. Some of the more intuitive applications will allow emergency data to be accessed in an emergency situation even if the mobile is protected by password lock security. These apps connect to your mobile phonebook, giving emergency personnel the freedom to instantly connect with your emergency contacts.

The most important consideration is ensuring that your ICE contacts are easily identified on the wallpaper of your phone. Carefully consider which information is most pertinent to your immediate care and list these items at the top of your ICE files. Never put sensitive material in your ICE file, including your home address or insurance policy number. While medical and emergency personnel are highly trained in privacy, an emergency can happen at any time, even in the presence of people who have no qualms with stealing information from a person in pain.

This article was written by Chloe Parker of MobilePhones.org.uk. Click here to see more of her work.

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