About “In Case of Emergency”

Welcome to the home of ICE – In Case of Emergency

Image of ICE founder, Bob Brotchie
Bob Brotchie – ICE founder

Why ICE?

Imagine sitting at home waiting for a loved one to arrive and not knowing where they are.

Imagine ringing the police – they can do nothing until an adult has been missing for at least 48 hours.

Imagine ringing the hospitals – and they don’t have anyone with your loved one’s name – but they may have unidentified patients.

Now imagine what it’s like to be a paramedic, desperately trying to find the next of kin of a critically injured patient.

All of this heartache can be avoided by a simple action.

How to ‘ICE’

Add the letters I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency) to the person or number on your mobile phone that you’d like to be contacted – in case of emergency e.g ICE-Mum, ICE-Wife

Having notified your loved ones, the medical team can then treat you appropriately, so expediting treatment and reducing risk of further harm. Repatriation occurs much faster than for many of those brought to the emergency room ‘unconscious’, who may otherwise lay ‘ALONE’ and as a ‘P/U’ – Patient Unknown .Bob Brotchie on CBS Live


As a paramedic since the 90’s (now retired from NHS, I’m a Counsellor today) I had been using the mobile phones of ‘casualties’ for a while to try to notify loved ones asap, knowing from personal and professional experience how distressing it is to see someone without family at their bedside… and of my own personal experience of being that person, as I had been back in 1979 following a car accident in which I was critically injured, having been ejected at high speed from a somersaulting car! I ‘came to’ at hospital, briefly at first, confused, frightened and ‘alone’!

The ‘Lightbulb’ Moment!

I asked myself in 2004, whilst reflecting on a serious traffic collision I had attended the previous day , how I could create a uniform way for the public to accept, and emergency responders to adopt, a method of accessing the relevant info – fast.

I thought of an acronym, considering various options so that ‘I’ would know where to look in the casualties mobile phones contact list straight-away.

Reducing Inertia

My earlier experiences had demonstrated that simply searching the contact list was haphazard…and time consuming! I didn’t know who to call and often got no answer anyway. Worst was when I had to give up, so as to continue with immediate care.

I thought of ICE – In Case of Emergency and felt that if phone owners prefixed the ‘agreed’ ICE contact with ICE, then responders could go instantly to ‘I’ for ICE!!… Simple!

So an example is Ice – mum, or Ice – Bob, etc. You can have more than one but please ALSO have that conversation with the ‘agreed’ ICE Contact.



ICE even has it’s very own ‘Wiki entry!

I started to put out feelers for opinions to this idea, with phone companies, medics and public. The response was overwhelmingly positive!



Bob & S Weston
Simon Weston & Bob in London talking to the nations local Radio Stations for the day to promote the Vodafone Lifesaver Awards and ICE.



What were the potential concerns at that time?

  • What if the mobile phone has been ‘locked by passcode’? Clearly, with the phones of the day, the majority not being ‘smartphones’, then it was a ‘matter of choice’! Today, it need not be an issue!

With the proliferation of ‘smartphones’, there are now ‘apps’ which allow the phone to be ‘locked’, yet still allow access to the information YOU wish to be known – In Case of Emergency. I have provided info on this site for you, if you wish to use something more than my original idea, which is still the number one choice – globally! We can all (mostly) now create a ‘locked’ screen wallpaper with our photo, and the ICE details!

  •  What if the phone is damaged, separated from its owner, etc.?

Clearly, in that scenario, the phone will become useless for the purposes of ICE. The solution is to have more than one method. There are others methods which I support, some of which are listed below and have their own page on this site.

  •  Some emergency responders feel that they will be “better served dealing with the casualty” – Quite right! – At no point in time have I ever reduced my care to the patient whilst seeking ICE info. These days, there is always someone such as a colleague or police officer who can support the notification/identification process.

So, that’s the story of ICE – Please consider ICE ‘original’, for you and those you care about as well as the supporting options below. If you have any stories of ICE in use, or how it may have helped, please let me know. Suggestions are always welcome too.

Thank you for your interest.


Worldwide interest from reporters across the globe…and for more, simply use search term “Bob Brotchie ICE”

ICE Your Cell Phone For Safety

Mobile phone users are being urged to enter a number in their phone’s memory with the acronym ICE, for In Case of Emergency, with the contact person’s name and number.Paramedics or police would be able to swiftly to find the number and use it to reach a relative or friend who could help identify deceased victims and treat injured ones, by providing vital personal information, including details of any medical conditions.

The campaign was launched in May this year, but had limited impact until the first series of London blasts. Those explosions rendered many victims unidentifiable, which sparked an e-mail campaign to spread the ICE idea around the world.

ICE is the brainchild of British paramedic Bob Brotchie, who

told The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen Tuesday the idea came to him “just from reflecting on difficulties I’ve had in obtaining information about patients. The vast majority of people don’t carry emergency contact details or next-of-kin details, but the vast majority of people carry cell phones.

“Most (paramedics) spend time looking for a cell phone, not knowing who to call. It occurred to me there might be a uniform way of doing this.”

But, with ICE before the contact person’s name, all a paramedic has to do is search for “ice” to quickly get the name of the person to call.”The advice,” Brotchie says, “is that you first agree with that person that they be that contact, so they’re aware of it. They must (be able to) confirm your date of birth, your name, preferably your address. Hopefully, things such as allergies, blood type, any previous medical history that may be relevant, and then we can get that information to the hospital, perhaps before we leave the scene of an accident, and that will expedite treatment. The hope is that the next-of-kin contact can meet us at the hospital at the same time and the treatment will be as rapid as it could possibly be.”

Brotchie admits ICE isn’t foolproof: “Where somebody locks the phone out, it’s not for them at this time. And if the phone is broken in an incident or an accident, it’s not going to work. The idea of ICE is to encourage individuals to can carry a card or some sort of contact information, regardless of whether that’s ICE in the cell.

“The whole idea is that people should provide information for the emergency services to help treat you at the scene of an incident.”

Brotchie says ICE could literally be a lifesaver: “It’s certainly got the potential to save lives. What is more important, or more likely, is that it will expedite treatment and help people at the earliest opportunity. That’s been shown to have major beneficial effects.”

Ends | Copyright 2005 CBS. All rights reserved.

The ICE App – Smart-ICE from ems-options

ICE4SAFETY – ICE…Holistically

The ICE QR Code from – QrTY

ICE Tags – UK

Taggisar® ICE stickers (UK/India/Sweden)

ICE Seat Belt Sleeves 

If you feel you have an ICE related product that belongs here, let me know. You can email me here bob.brotchie@gmail.com or find me on Linkedin or Twitter @bobbrotchie

© Bob Brotchie 2004 – 2015

45 thoughts on “About “In Case of Emergency”

  1. Bob, thanks so much for sharing this. Like all brilliant ideas it is head-slappingly simple but so effective. It would be great to hear from some people who have used it and managed to avoid the horrible situation you describe above. I wouldn’t want anyone I know to be a P/U.
    Thanks again for helping to make a horrible situation easier to bear.


  2. Hi Bob,
    This site is just great. I have spent 15 years working in emergency departments across the UK, i know how many times being able to contact loved ones would have made a difference both to medical treatment and psychological wellbeing of both our patient and their family. Using ICE is an absolute no brainer, there is no downside only wins for all involved.

    If you are unlucky enough to have an accident or get taken ill having someone who can tell the emergency services and A&E team about your health genuinely could save your life.


    1. morming Bob

      In 2005 we ran a big campaign in Flintshire engaged 25,000 young people through a £500 grant from the then High Sheriff of Clwyd to promote the ICE Campaign awareness.
      In 2006 we presented our ICE Youth project to HRH The Princess Royal during a Youth Achievement Event – View from the Streets of Flintshire.
      We presented the project through a stage performance it was amazing Thank You a great idea


      1. Thank you, Denise, wonderful to see these examples of ‘right cause’ projects involving ‘ICE’ – and with a “stage performance” too! Brilliant efforts! Congratulations, and thank you for stopping by.


  3. Thanks Bob for including ICE Tags as part of the “Best of” ICE. There are lots of options for people now – no excuse why everybody shouldn’t have some type of ICE on them – along with ICE in their phone (of course).


  4. Hi people I’m rob and September lastyear i was really ill, but a month or so before this I had heard about I.C.E so I put it to my mum & brothers name on my mobile(for good reason it turns out!) as I said I was really ill so a friend decided to take me to addenbrooks hospital, my friend left me in A&E &went to visit his mother in-law upstairs during this time I had collapsed and was put on life support, obliviously I don’t remember any of this & as it turns out I had infective endocarditis and needed emergency mitral valve replacement, so when I came too in papworth hospital (great place by the way) with a sturnotomy scar I was “abit” shocked and asked my mum and brother how they found out & they said the hospital rang them as I.C.E was next to their name, I couldn’t believe it as I had only put it next to their name weeks before, since then I’ve managed to get endless amounts of people to do the same. I think this is a great idea as its so simple to do, also before they went through my phone they thought I was homeless because i looked so rough(lol) as my friend had left as I said previously.
    Thanks for taking the time to read my post & any questions just ask


  5. Maybe we should also lobby all the mobile phone makers to add an ice contact to all their phones – people would automatically enter the details when they set their phone up


    1. Thanks for your suggestion, Anjanette. I agree entirely. I was quoted in the UK Telegraph newspaper back in 2005, asking for this from the phone manufacturers. Some have provided a derivative, but they are not uniform – so no-one uses them! How difficult can it be?


      1. Hi Bob

        Is this something that just relates to car accidents or for example, would it be useful for elderly people living alone or people who become ill in the street etc?


      2. ICE is invaluable for anyone who may be rendered unable to communicate for themselves, regardless of situation. As a former paramedic, if I was attending someone unconscious or unable to speak in their own home, perhaps due to diabetes symptoms, epilepsy and seizure – or stroke. we could usually access other forms of identification and contact information. ICE is most successful in public places, be they roads or otherwise.
        I hope that provides some clarity.


  6. Hi Bob,
    I’m a college student writing a paper about your interesting project and I was wondering if maybe you could give me some information as to where the funding for the project came from? (Phone companies, governmental organizations etc)
    I would appreciate any info you can give me
    Thanks for your help 🙂

    Liat Rennert


    1. Hi Liat, and thank you for your question, and interest in ICE.
      The short answer is that ICE went viral due to a number of circumstances and provisions in place, very little of which was funded.
      I was extremely fortunate to have a media colleague, Matt Ware, who had contacts to put ‘feelers’ out to about my ICE idea; this was without cost.
      Vodafone, UK Telecoms provider sponsored a small sum to help us promote in the U.S and Australia.They also gave me the opportunity to tell the story to around 40 various regional BBC radio stations in the UK.
      CBS, in the U.S gave me an airing on the morning ‘live’ news show which was broadcast nationally across America.
      Telstra, in Australia sent out a reported 7 million texts encouraging people to “ICE their phones”. Most of this occurred shortly after the 7th July London terrorist bombings, something which drew global media attention to ICE.
      Today, some 8 years on, ICE is still growing across the world, with a reasonable estimate of ‘millions’ of cell phone owners placing ICE in the address books, free of charge and of their own choice.
      I have been involved with a number of ‘spin-offs’ to provide a commercial route, but not one has succeeded in any way close to how my original idea has, and that is fine with me as ICE was never intended to be ‘for profit’, rather a means to help those in peril, and their loved ones.
      I hope that helps provide an overall picture.


      1. This helped a lot! Thank you so much for taking the time to reply in depth, I really appreciate it!
        It’s a wonderful project 🙂


  7. As a motorcyclist I have been using ICE for many years now. My option is thye excellent UTAG ICE, which can be found at http://www.utagice.com/. There are many options, with my preference being the dog tag plus a sticker that goes on my crash helmet. I cannot praise this concept enough and believe that everybody should have one. To me it is a no brainer and potential life saver.


  8. Bob, I work in the UK but my family is based on three different continents. Do you know how widespread ICE is? Would this be recognised in France, China, Italy, US?


    1. Hi Nathalie – and thank you for your interest in the ICE campaign.

      I’m pleased to report that ICE is recognised across continents and continues to grow across the globe. From the English speaking perspective, ICE is highly recognised in the UK, US and Australasia. A number of South and Central American regions do promote ICE,Chile is very strong in this regard and I do now recall an approach from the philippines where I understand awareness is being encouraged.

      There are a number of spinoffs for my concept and I’m sure at least some will take care of the alternative languages. A most critical continent where I would like to see greater adoption and work to allow this would be across Asia of course. Although I have worked with many businesses, non have so far come from non-english speaking nations.

      For more information from across the internet, do search “Bob Brotchie ICE”, of let me know if I can help any further.

      Warmest wishes



  9. Hi Bob,

    As a Driver Trainer involved in Speed Awareness Courses and other Police Diversion courses, I have been promoting YOUR fantastic idea for about 4 or 5 years now. It still amazes me that out of 24 delegates on a course, only about 25% know about ICE. Today, a delegate mentioned that the company who he works for (150 employees) has not promoted this because they didn’t know! Furthermore, their Health & Safety Dept doesn’t know about it either. Unbelievable! I do get asked about ‘locked phones’. Stock answers is to mention the ‘apps’ or have ICE numbers as a screen save. If they don’t know how to do that, ask the kids.

    Please keep up the momentum to get this idea out. Also through your network, possibly promote Emergency number ‘112’ Again, it amazes me that out of 24 delegates on a course, only about 15% know about this also.

    Warm Regards



    1. Thanks Graham, It’s always so pleasing to learn from others of their passion for maintaining ICE momentum.
      I think it is somewhat inevitable that ‘awareness’ waxes and wanes, particularly in the UK which has been one of the more challenging regions to keep things going.
      My personal promotion efforts are slightly less than previous years as there are so many spin-offs and derivatives. That said, I still get approached almost weekly by those who want ICE to be the next big thing – in a commercial way!
      The best I can hope for is for the mobile providers to finally agree to have ICE pre-loaded in the contacts section, and a screensaver option for the locked phone that will show the ICE contact, even when locked. As you rightly point out, this can be done by ourselves, but…
      And 112! I know, I know…
      Thanks again Graham! Maybe I’ll consider starting a petition to re-awaken awareness and encourage a major phone manufacturer to run with it!


    1. Thanks for your kind feedback. If you want to make use of my original and free idea, simply edit contact information in each mobile phones address/contact list to reflect your wishes. For example, prefix the name of the person who IS the ICE – In Case of Emergency – Contact with ICE. ICE – Mum, ICE – Dad, etc. Alternatively, there are apps for both Android and iOS, Stickers with QR Codes that can be scanned, and a host of other initiatives, some of which you will have seen on this website. If you need anything further, please do let me know. Kind regards. Bob Brotchie


  10. Buonasera Sig, Brotchie, sono Alessandra, sono una infermiera italiana, sto scrivendo una tesi sul suo progetto che trovo molto interessante. Mi può dare informazioni più dettagliate sulla realizzazione del progetto in altri paesi, per esempio America, Australia. Grazie!!!


    1. (Translated) Good evening Sir, Brotchie, I am Alessandra, I am an Italian Nurse and I’m writing a thesis on this project, which I find very interesting. Can you give me more details on the implementation of the project in other countries, such as America, Australia. Thanks !!!

      Ciao Allesandra, grazie per il tuo messaggio.
      ICE ha visto una maggiore crescita in America che nel Regno Unito, sono incerti circa l’Australia oggi, ma certamente erano sostenitori molto forti nel 2005. Penso di ulteriori ricerche è utile Google Search “ICE in caso di emergenza” e aggiungere il Paese volete saperne di più su. Ottenere dati è impegnativo come molti prodotti ICE – e la mia idea originale sono liberi di attuare e quindi nessuna registrazione è spesso necessario. Sarebbe interessante leggere la tua tesi quando si è pronti! I migliori auguri, Bob

      Hi Allesandra, thank you for your message.
      I.C.E has seen greater growth in America than the U.K, I’m unsure about Australia today but they certainly were very strong advocates in 2005. I think to research further it is helpful to Google Search “I.C.E In Case Of Emergency” And add the Country you wish to know more about. Obtaining data is challenging as many ICE products – and my original concept are Free to implement and so no registration is often necessary. It would be exciting to read your thesis when you are ready! Best wishes, Bob


  11. Hi Bob, I have an iPhone, and want to download the ICE app, which one is the best one? I will be putting it on my mums iPhone as she has quite a complex illness, many thanks, Dawn


    1. Hi Dawn. I’m sorry but I’m unable to say which one is ‘best’ as most developers fail to connect with me. Of those who have, Smart-Ice by EMS options is one I have worked with. Might be worth noting that the latest iOS update has ‘health’ and an area for ICE within that. Do feedback if you do download something, with your views! Another option, amongst many, is an ICE sticker to place on the back or case of the phone. I have this as well as an app and the iOS addition!
      Best wishes.


  12. Hi Bob, Its a brilliant idea, but i’ve got one question. I’ve got a pin code on my Iphone so how would the emergency services get through the ICE number?


    1. Hi Sam – and thanks!
      It depends on which iPhone and which iOS you have. The latest iOS (8.1.1) and the iPhone 6 has a pre-installed app “Health”, where you can populate the section “Medical I.D”. For older models you can choose from the app store ICE apps which will still allow your ICE info to be accessed, even with the phone locked. Another do-it-yourself option is to take a picture and edit in details of your ICE contact and have this as a screensaver for the locked screen. Yet another option are the ICE stickers with a Q-R (Quick Response) code. I have one of these on the back of my phone case.
      These are just some of the possibilities. I hope that helps.
      Stay safe and best wishes. Bob


  13. How widespread is the use of ICE on mobile phones? Debate on how effective it is here http://www.cyclechat.net/threads/emergency-contact-details-on-iphone.172404/#post-3473044.
    Do paramedics actually still check mobiles for this?

    Have you a better way of putting this across http://www.cyclechat.net/threads/accident-advice.151618/?

    ICE- on android phones go to ‘Settings’ – ‘Security’ , then ‘owner info’ . Add ICE number and name and it will scroll across your locked screen.

    I cycle, sort of obvious, but also suffer from epilepsy. First number in the phonebook/contact’s is the ICE number


  14. I watched TV program where I.C.E. was mentioned. Qualified 1986 as a RGN & always keep up to date with things.


  15. I am using the app ICE (In Case of Emergency). Does anyone know how I might edit the emergency information on the lock screen? I have an iPhone 5 running iOS 8.


    1. Thanks for dropping by, Kenneth! Pleased you are working through the issue. If you do get stuck, please let me have the specific app details and I’ll gladly see if I can assist. Good luck with it, take care. Bob


  16. Hello Mr. Brotchie,

    My mom, in Litchfield, Maine, is the one who told me about I.C.E. and I am now writing an article about it for a website. If the article is accepted, I will post a link to it for you.

    What about a sticker to add to the windshield or driver’s window on a car that identifies the car owner as an I.C.E. user (kind of like the tot finder stickers that were popular for homes in the past for firefighters)? Just a thought and one that I am happy to further explore with you! Thank you!



    1. Hi Linda, thank you for your feedback and suggestion. (Yes,would love to see the article if accepted!)
      Regarding windshield ICE stickers, this has recently been rolled out here in the UK, using the now redundant road fund licence (tax disc) holders. It has some drawbacks such as if you are not the owner of the car in a collision or medical incident! But otherwise, anything that can help identify the unconscious is just terrific by me and my ex-colleagues.
      Take care and thanks again.


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