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QuickTip: A (N)ICE Feature for Your Cellphone

QuickTip: A (N)ICE Feature for Your Cellphone

This post was originally published in November 2009. It has been updated to reflect more recent information and so we can all have a good laugh that I used to hate cellphones! (Of course, I also used to think Facebook was useless…) 🙂

This is my first post about cellphones because, well, I generally hate them. However, I do still have one, mainly in case there’s an emergency where I need to get help fast. But what about emergencies where you can’t call for help? An ICE app can help first responders help you.

ICE stands for In Case of Emergency. It’s an app where you can enter the name and phone number of the person or people you would want police, firemen, paramedics, or hospital staff to call if you’re not able to do so yourself. Otherwise, they’d have to go through your entire address book trying to figure out who that is.

Note: If you have an older flip-phone instead of a smartphone, many of them have a built-in ICE feature that you can access via your Settings menu. If yours doesn’t, you can simply add ICE in front of the names of the appropriate people in your contact list to make it easier for someone to determine who to call. (I’ve read that first responders are trained to look for this acronym but—fortunately—I haven’t yet been in a situation where I could determine this first-hand.)

There are many different ICE apps available. I have an Android phone and use an app simply called ICE by Sera-Apps. In addition to listing the names and numbers for your emergency contacts, it also has an information section where you can enter additional information like blood type, allergies, and medications. There’s also a Notes section, where I’ve noted that I have two cats that need to be taken care of, and who has keys to my house, just in case I can’t get home any time soon.

The app provides both a widget, which I display on my phone’s home screen, and an icon that I use on other screens, including my lock screen, so it’s as easy to find as possible.

If you don’t currently have an ICE app on your phone (or tablet), why not do it right now? And make sure your other family members do it as well to make sure that YOU’re the first person called if anything were to happen to them.

Note: Cellphones can get damaged or lost in an accident so they shouldn’t be the only place you record this information. Emergency experts suggest you also keep written instructions in your wallet or glove compartment.

Elizabeth Kricfalusi

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