Not a debate... ICE (in case of emergency)

[deleted account] ( 11 moms have responded )

Jackie Avery got up at 5 a.m. one morning last November after a fitful night of worrying why her common-law husband hadn't come home. She had tried calling him, "ten or fifteen or seven million times."

Finally, an emergency room nurse called Avery on Jamie Hooper's cellphone.

"I can't remember exactly, but the nurse asked me if I knew Jamie, if I was family."

"I asked if he was going to be OK, and she said 'probably not.'"

Hooper was found by police four or five hours earlier, unconscious on the side of Great Northern Way. His bicycle was under a parked semi-trailer.

"I had my wallet and my phone but no actual 'who to contact' in case of emergency," said Hooper, who survived the accident.

If the Vancouver police department, the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services and the BC Ambulance Services have their way, a tool called "ICE" will mean that someone in Avery's position would get the call to go to the hospital sooner.

ICE (short for In Case of Emergency) is an initiative launched by a paramedic in the United Kingdom in 2005. The idea of keeping next-of-kin information stored in cellphones under the name "ICE" -- or ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 for multiple contacts -- grew in popularity following the London bomb attacks that summer.

"The ICE program is intended for emergencies when people are incapacitated," said Sgt. Ken Athans of the Vancouver police department, following a media event to launch the initiative in Vancouver.

"If you were injured and you can't speak for yourself, you want your loved ones to be the ones to speak for you," Athans said.

"If you were at the extreme condition where it could be your last moments, you'd want your loved ones to be contacted to come and be with you."

Eileen Mosca, the vice-president of the Vancouver Association of Community Policing Centres, spearheaded the ICE initiative in Vancouver in February. The ICE program is a good idea for anyone, she said, even in non-emergency situations, and even for those without cellphones: 20,000 ICE wallet cards are available at Vancouver's ten community policing centres.

"Remember the story of the toddler who was wandering around in Chinatown this summer?" Mosca asked.

"Police were canvassing the neighbourhood for eight hours. Had she had a card in her backpack or coat they might have been able to contact someone."

As soon as more funding is secured through several charities, Mosca said her organization will be ordering another 56,000 cards for distribution in Vancouver's schools. The City of Vancouver also has plans to distribute the cards to the homeless through the office of the housing advocate and several community partners.

"That may be helpful this coming winter if we have situations where it gets extremely cold," Athans said. "We may be able to reach someone to better persuade them to come in from the cold and get shelter."

Gabe Roder, a captain with Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, also attending the news conference, recalled a situation similar to Hooper's: His team came across an unconscious cyclist with no identification, and no contact information.

"We had to hand him over to the ambulance service with 'Name of patient unknown' on the first responder form."

Roder said he'd like to see even more than contact information kept on wallet cards or cellphone emergency entries. He'd like to know whether a patient has medication allergies, or is diabetic.

"It helps to know whether someone suffers from a chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, " he said. "It changes the amount of oxygen we can safely give them."

Read more:


[deleted account]

np, I had heard of it a while back and just came across this article today. I think if everyone had it in their cellphone it would make things much easier for the emergency personnel.

Moreover, another perk is that if you lose your phone it"s easier for the person who finds it to contact someone close to you instead of going through all the numbers.

This conversation has been closed to further comments


View replies by

[deleted account]

I have brought cellphones back to their owners several times... so I assume Karma will be in my favor. I try to assume some good in people

Kate CP - posted on 09/10/2010




That's assuming people are polite and nice enough to return a lost cell phone. :/

C. - posted on 09/10/2010




I've actually never heard of ICE. That's a great idea! I'm going to get my husband to do that, too. Thanks for posting this, Mylene!

Tana - posted on 09/10/2010




Awesome idea! I just added ICE contacts to my phone, just in case. I mean, you never know..

[deleted account]

For people who own a Blackberry, if you have a password on it, you can update the owner information and include the ICE information so it will show even if the phone is locked. Also set your password options to allow outgoing calls so that your ICE can be contacted right away.

Hope this helps any blackberry owners...

Kate CP - posted on 09/10/2010




A lot of cell phones already have this built in. You have to assign the numbers to the ICE categories or else it will just put the first number in your phone book as a contact for ICE.

Erin - posted on 09/10/2010




I also have ICE in my cell phone. My husband, mom, and MIL are my emergency contacts.

Sharon - posted on 09/10/2010




I hadn't heard of this! Very cool. We keep that sort of information in our wallets but that might be moot if we were the victims of a violent crime or a terrible accident where id got mixed up.


Katherine - posted on 09/10/2010




I have ICE right in my cell phone. That's where they tell us to put it.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms