East Anglian Ambulance Service have launched a national "In case of Emergency ( ICE )" campaign with the support of Falklands war hero Simon Weston and in association with Vodafone’s annual life savers award. The idea is that you store the word " I C E " in your mobile phone address book, and against it enter the number of the person you would want to be contacted "In Case of Emergency". In an emergency situation ambulance and hospital staff will then be able to quickly find out who your next of kin are and be able to contact them. It’s so simple that everyone can do it. Please do. Please will you also forward this to everybody in your address book, it won’t take too many ‘forwards’ before everybody will know about this. It really could save your life. For more than one contact name ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 etc
Some drawbacks to the proposed scheme come to mind:
- The cell phone has to remain with the victim (or otherwise be indentifiable as his) in order to be of use. While most wallets and purses will contain some items bearing photographs that can be matched to their owners (such as driver’s licenses), a cell phone doesn’t necessarily provide any direct means of identifying its owner. And while any form of ID can become separated from the person bearing it, a cell phone is an object frequently carried in hand, greatly increasing the chances of its loss in an accident.
- A cell phone can be damaged to the point that information stored in (or through) it is no longer retrievable. This is also true of other forms of identification (a piece of paper or a card can be rendered unreadable by fire or water damage), but non-electronic devices will generally survive falls or impacts that might otherwise render cell phones non-functional.
- Cell phones come in many different brands and varieties, and how to retrieve stored information may not be immediately apparent to someone trying to work with an unfamiliar type of phone.
Still, whatever the drawbacks might be to any particular scheme, carrying some type of ICE information is better than none, so if this cell phone-based campaign prompts some people who aren’t already doing so to start, it’s a worthwhile effort.