ASSE Urges In-Case-of-Emergency Contacts on Cell Phones

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is joining with rescue personnel in asking people to program "in-case-of-emergency" (ICE) contacts on their cell phones' address books as a way to easily reach a family member or emergency contact should an illness or accident render one unconscious.

This week ASSE is distributing ICE information including a Powerpoint presentation describing how and why this can be done to thousands of their members.

"With over 190 million people in the U.S. with cell phones and even more worldwide, ICE can help emergency personnel in quickly identifying an injured individual and their next-of-kin in minutes instead of hours," ASSE member John Spath, CSP, of New York, said. "This helps emergency workers provide the best care possible."

Making ICE a common practice for cell phone users will help make it a routine measure for police, fire and other emergency personnel to check cell phones when necessary, Spath added.

ICE is free and only requires a cell phone to use it. Even when carrying personal identification, such as a driver's license, it is recommended to use ICE, because an ID does not contain the names and phone numbers of next-of-kin, medical history or any other information that emergency personnel may need in assisting a patient.

Individuals can program a new contact in their cell phone address book with the letters "ICE" followed by the name and phone numbers of their emergency contacts. If adding more than one ICE contact, mark the primary contact as "ICE1," such as "ICE1 John Doe," "ICE2 Jane Doe" and so on. These individuals should agree to be the ICE contact and they should be supplied with the individual's family contacts, primary physician, work contact and medical history, which should list allergies, current medication and previous medical procedures.

Individuals under the age of 18 should list their guardian, mother or father as their ICE contact.

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