Terrorist bombings, natural disasters, avian flu epidemics -- if there is one thing that experience has shown us it is that there are no certainties regarding our ability to stay out of harm’s way.
That is why a group of paramedics in Great Britain conceived the idea of ICE, In Case of Emergency, after the terrorist bombings in London. The premise of ICE is that individuals carry the number of an emergency contact in their cell phone’s address book, label it ICE and store it. They should also carry an ICE identification card in their wallet, blackberry, PDA, with similar information.
Whether you are a victim of an auto or plane accident, a terrorist incident, or a tsunami, medical personnel treating you are limited in what they can do if they do not have your medical history. Reaching an ICE contact who can provide permission to access your medical record and outline your prescription drugs and allergies is often critical and time sensitive. Your emergency contact person needs to be appraised of the location of your medical record, as well as any unusual medical conditions and allergies to be able to convey that information
Emergency medical practitioners throughout the world have been trained to recognize the ICE acronym and search for it in a wallet or cell phone of an individual who may be comatose or too disoriented to remember who to call for information.
Although information about ICE is spreading virally via word of mouth, the media, email and the Internet, too few individuals have heard about it or have incorporated it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2003 that 900,000 emergency room patients could not provide information because they were incapacitated. The ICE method is free of charge and available to everyone. Ice is not just something to put into a drink. An In Case of Emergency (ICE) contact should be in your cell phone, your blackberry, PDA and wallet. This action could save your life.