View Full Version : Emergency responders: Cell phone ICE files- yea or nay?

Chuck Dye
September 1, 2006, 11:52 PM
Some time back I heard a radio yapper mention having ICE, In Case of Emergency, files programmed into your cell phone address book. The idea is that emergency responders processing a victim with a cellular phone can access important info such as who to call, medications, and for one of my friends, to check his wallet for a notarized DNR. I have created an ICE entry and medications entry into my phone in the belief that they couldn’t hurt.

So how about it, emergency responders, has such a procedure been added to your training and protocols?

September 2, 2006, 12:25 AM
What guarantee is there that the cellular phone they find in the possession of a given victim actually is that victim's phone, with data on that victim? What if some dude has his dad's or his brother-in-law's phone on him at the time of an accident, and the phone indicates no medication allergies, but they give him something to which he is allergic?

All this, on the very same day I heard something on the radio talking about how your old cellular phone that you're discarding might still contain sensitive personal information on it... :rolleyes: And we're soon going to have people putting their medical histories onto their phones' memories?


September 2, 2006, 10:40 AM
my opinion: ICE, great idea.....emergency contact only (family or friend..doctor)

September 2, 2006, 11:32 AM
I dont see anything wrong with the ICE numbers, we have them in our phones. Medications and such are on a dogtag and meat tag. That way, even if your stripped of everything, the info is still with you.

Capt. Charlie
September 2, 2006, 11:51 AM
Not a bad idea, Huck, but maybe it would be a good idea to put a sticker on your phone advising them that there are ICE files in it, and maybe how to access them. Otherwise, they may not even think to look.

I don't know about our paramedics here, but this is something we were never taught to look for.

Then there's us old pharts; heck, I still haven't figured out how to text message on the darned thing! :D

Chuck Dye
September 2, 2006, 12:06 PM

My question is really to emergency responders on whether training and protocols have been modified to include checking for cell phone ICE entries.

It would be interesting to know from the pros whether such checks are getting done and whether they are proving worthwhile.

September 2, 2006, 08:49 PM
FWIW, Huck, . . . I know an RN in the Marion, Ohio area, . . . it is protocol apparently with them, . . . they look for the phone and the ICE.

My phone has both ICE and ICE ALT. I think it is a great idea.

May God bless,

September 2, 2006, 09:50 PM
I have it programmed as well as does most of my family members. I think that as more people hear of this great idea, emergency responders will either officially adopt it into their training practices, or at least adopt it based on common information. Most people don't carry a list of contact numbers in their wallets. Even if a phone number can be looked up based on the person's address, what if there is no one home? That can cause serious delays in contacting family... delays that may even prevent last good byes or crucial life or death decisions. (Drug allergies, organ donation, etc...) I have my wife programmed as my first ICE contact and then I have several other ICE numbers in case my wife is with me in an emergency. They are set in the order of my regular emergency contact list. I hope this becomes standard practice since cell ohones have become so prevalent now a days.

September 2, 2006, 09:52 PM
I double list me ICE contacts. I have them as a normal entry and as an ICE entry. I also include relationship. For example, ICE1:Wife, ICE2: Sister, etc.

I figure there is no harm in having it there and it might help.

sks forever
September 2, 2006, 09:57 PM
That would be great!! But as far as a DNR, here at least, unless I see the YELLOW paper with their pick in upper right, physician signature, and witness signature, I go to work.

If I roll up and there are unconscious amd there phone had some of the SAMPLE and OPQRST info on it, I'd be happy.

September 2, 2006, 10:10 PM
I would think looking at the phonebook or even the recent calls on ANY cellphone would likely help emergency personnel reach someone who cared. It would take little time to do so.

sks forever
September 2, 2006, 10:16 PM
It definatley depends on the severity of the circumstance, but most of the time I don't have the time to go looking throught their phone and determine what would be pertinent info relative to ICE names or contacts. If it is a true medical emergency, contacting a patient's family is not that important compared to packing and driving to the nearest trauma center

September 2, 2006, 10:25 PM
Never heard of this in training.

However; I don't know about the rest of you, I have "home" listed in my phonebook.

I have thought that if I were at an extrication where I needed next of kin, I would use the vic's cell and look for "mom", or Home, to put a call in to NOK.

sks forever
September 2, 2006, 10:40 PM
Never heard of this in training.

So, how often do you get to stop, baseline vitals, vitals, c-spine or watever the case to get a call in. It is so busy out here and everywhere that I don't get to do it all that often, usually between vitals on the way.

September 2, 2006, 10:50 PM
I don't do transport, just the cutting and the prying.

While the EMTs are doing their thing, I would (if possible) grab the phone and pass it off to the caregivers before they left.

It hasn't come up before on the street, but I have given that some gray matter time as a job related "scenerio".

Personally, beyond that I would be cautious. I would be concerned that if the info were "compromised" then harm could come.

sks forever
September 2, 2006, 11:00 PM
Another thing to realize though, is that if I called somebody and give them certain info, I could be fired thanks to the PHIAA act. You have to be so careful telling anybody anything, unless face to face, and only if it is fure sure their immediate family member, and only if it is right there at the scene. That is why it would be perfect to have somebody like you make the call, then I wouldn't be liable and you proably don't have the same protocols as I do, so it would be a win win there.

September 2, 2006, 11:57 PM
I know my wife would want to know if I were being toted off in the bus. So my mental excercise goes like this

ring...ring "Hi honey, what the heck is taking you so long? I thought you were just gonna grab a couple cases of ammo, not buy the whole store! I'm ready to go and our BOBs are by the door!" (sorry, i couldn't resist that :D )

"Mrs. Forever?"
"Yes? :confused: Who is this? Why do you have SKS's cell phone? "
"Ma'am, Don't be allarmed. My name is Masterfirefighter Rangermonroe. Your husband has been involved in a slight wreck, and is being transported the The Firing Line Medical Center on the High Road to get checked out. Will you need assistance meeting him there?"

Years ago, I had a close friend who sat on the porch for hours wondering why her fiancee was late coming home after an errand(they were shacked up).

Hours later, the police showed up. They gave her a ride to ID his body.

September 12, 2006, 02:32 PM
Not to be morbid, but the Investgators that I work with will use ICE #'s when they don't have anything else to use to contact family members and attempt identification. It's more of a last resort for our office.

September 12, 2006, 02:38 PM
I still just carry a list of phone numbers in my wallet. I guess I'm just old fashioned...

I do have my parents' phone numbers programmed into my cell phone, though. If the ER docs can't figure out that "Mom" or "Dad" would be good numbers to call, then they need to work on their logic skills.

HiPowering Along
September 12, 2006, 07:52 PM
Let me tell you a story (real life) where the ICE thing would have cut down nearly half a day getting in touch with someone to comfort a young child that lost a parent in a MVA.

Called to scene at about 0230 hours. Dead guy in road that had been run over after being ejected from stalled vehicle. Child sees Dad in middle of road. Not good...

Child transported to nearest hospital for treatment of any injuries before I got there. Family on way to another state about 1600 miles away, no home phone, cell phone has virtually no phone numbers in it. Only thing available to go on is an old address book the child had. Phone numbers in it were useless - "number is not in service" messages when trying to get ahold of the other parent.

I now have a young child that's old enough to put two and two together to come up with 3.76, or, pretty well knowing Daddy's dead, but no one can tell him/her until I get the other parent or a family member/trusted family friend there for emotional support and guardianship. Sucks to be both of us at this point.

It wasn't until nearly 10 hours later with some decent detective work and verbally making a phone company supervisor feel as guilty as a dog that just piddled on the carpet before he gave me the info I needed without a warrant or other such horsecrap. All I needed was phone calls to a certain area code off a calling card to narrow it down. "Imagine, sir, a child has been here for 10 hours without knowing where the other parent is, or if Daddy's actually dead. Now, close your eyes, and imagine that's your son/daughter that's here."

Dead silence. "What area code did you need?"

Had the other parent on the phone within 5 phone calls.


ICE on the phone in this case? A quick call to that number, or in my cases, have the police or local EOC (911 center) run their protocols and get the info from the phone companies on an address the phone is listed under. Police and/or my agency goes out to that addy for further investigation/notifications. I don't do notifications over the phone unless it's the absolute last resort. You just don't want to see me and a cop show up at your house at 0200 hours...

It may not have provided instantaneous communication with that party, but voicemail is a wonderful thing when the phone isn't answered right away.

Bottom line - in my line (and previous line) of work, there are times that it would be invaluable in trying to get in touch with the next of kin.

As a former EMT, I can count on the stump of one hand the times I've dug into someone's wallet for medical information. It's just not done in probably 99.9% of squads. Phone numbers on slips of paper also work, but generally when the SHTF, it's not looked at until you're in ICU recovering or the coroner has been called.

Personally, ICE is in my phone. I also like the ICE 2, ICE 3 idea mentioned earlier. Should an honest person find it, you might just get it back quicker without all the calls to Japan, China and Sri-Lanka on it, too....

Just my $0.02 worth....

September 13, 2006, 02:24 PM
How do you put ICE in your phone?

HiPowering Along
September 13, 2006, 05:31 PM
Just make an entry in your contacts/phonebook on the phone in all capitals that says "ICE" instead of "Mom", "George B.", "Stumpy", etc.

The phone number that goes with it is the person you want someone to call (I)in (C)ase of (E)mergency - medical, accident, you're unconscious or dead. Hopefully not the latter of the scenarios....:D

September 14, 2006, 09:48 AM
From the standpoint of a paid EMS person, a DNR in the wallet would be good, but that is not our first place to look when we pull up on scene. If nobody is around to indicate a signed copy of DNR is available, cpr is in place. If there is a signed copy, CPR is in progress until that signed copy is presented to me.

September 15, 2006, 10:09 AM
I wouldn't want anyone going through my cellphone while I'm unconcious. My phone is a mini PC and has alot of important things on it(and is hard to use for people who don't have experience with them).

September 15, 2006, 10:11 AM
I've had "ICE" 1,2, and 3 in my phone for about a year now. Did it after I read an article suggesting we do that. I like the idea above about also putting in "wife, son, mother, etc in as well. Hopefully it will help if ever needed.