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Put Your Family on ICE!
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New emergency protocol helps emergency workers contact family of accident victims

by Randy Hartnell

We’d like to let you know about a program designed to help rescue workers contact your family in case you are rendered uncommunicative during an accident or other medical emergency.

Paramedics often check a victim's cell phone for clues to that person's identity, so that they can contact immediate family.  You can make their job much easier with a simple idea that they are trying to get everyone to adopt.

The program is called ICE, which stands for In Case of Emergency. All you have to do is add an entry in the contacts list in your cell phone under ICE, with the name and phone number of the person that the emergency services should call on your behalf.

Paramedics know what ICE means and they look for it immediately.

As an ambulance-service spokesman noted in a recent Washington Post article about ICE, many people identify their spouse by name in their cell phone address book, making them indistinguishable from other entries, while dialing the number for “Mom” or “Dad” might be unwise if they suffer from ill health or Alzheimer's.

It only takes a few moments of your time to add an ICE contact, which will help ensure that your loved ones are notified quickly.  You’ll save the valuable time of emergency workers in the bargain.

Many cell phones won't let you put in the same number twice, so if your "ICE" phone number duplicates another number in your cell phone’s list, just put a "1" in front of the area code and phone number (Most cell phones don't care whether you use a "1" or not).

To read stories about the ICE program, click here (Washington Post) and here (KMO-TV Seattle).

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