Welcome to the home of ICE – In Case of Emergency
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 .
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.
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!
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”
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
“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 QR Code from – QrTY
© Bob Brotchie 2004 – 2015