Placing “In Case of Emergency” numbers in your cell phone

At the hospital where Linda works, nurses and other employees swap many ‘helpful hints’ via email, and one of these ideas recently circulated seemed to be a technique cryonicists could use to increase the chances that their suspension organizations would find out quickly about their situations, in case of an emergency.

The way it works is that a paramedic or emergency responder may look for a cell phone, and if it’s turned on and unlocked, they would check the address book to see if there’s any listing for ICE (all capitals). This stands for In Case (of) Emergency.

The practice (again, this is just ‘catching on’ and may not be done in all areas) is that the responder dials the ICE number and lets whoever answers know that the owner of the cell phone is in danger. They don’t know in advance if it’s the personal physician, the next of kin, or (in our case) a cryonics society. They just dial it [the “In Case (of) Emergency” phone number] and get the word passed.

If there’s more than just one emergency number, then the listings could be ICE1, ICE2, ICE3, etc. In our case, of course, the Cryonics Institute is “ICE1”, and each of us lists the other as “ICE2”. A different setup may be best for others. This is just how we’ve put it to work.

Will this help get the word to those who need to know quicker, in an emergency? Who knows? You can ask the same question about what good a Medic Alert bracelet might do. The bottom line is that if you carry a cell phone and usually have it unlocked and turned on, it’s just one more “inexpensive” line of defense against being in a dire situation without our cryonic organizations being aware of this situation and track our whereabouts as treatment is carried out.

For any who might like to see the exact wording of the message being circulated in Linda’s hospital via email, it’s reproduced below. Note that this is not ‘official’ hospital email, but rather part of an informal ‘idea mill’. Still, there are a few thoughts we haven’t mentioned above, so it’s included:

“We all carry our mobile phones with names & numbers stored in its memory but nobody, other than ourselves, knows which of these numbers belong to our closest family or friends.

“If we were to be involved in an accident or were taken ill, the people attending us would have our mobile phone but wouldn’t know who to call. Yes, there are hundreds of numbers stored but which one is the contact person in case of an emergency? Hence this ‘ICE’ (In Case of Emergency) Campaign

“The concept of ‘ICE’ is catching on quickly. It is a method of contact during emergency situations. As cell(mobile) phones are carried by the majority of the population, all you need to do is store the number of a contact person or persons who should be contacted during emergency under the name ‘ICE’ ( In Case Of Emergency).

“The idea was thought up by a paramedic who found that when he went to the scenes of accidents, there were always mobile phones with patients, but they didn’t know which number to call. He therefore thought that it would be a good idea if there was a nationally recognized name for this purpose. In an emergency situation, Emergency Service personnel and hospital Staff would be able to quickly contact the right person by simply dialing the number you have stored as ‘ICE.’

“For more than one contact name simply enter ICE1, ICE2 and ICE3 etc. A great idea that will make a difference!

“Let’s spread the concept of ICE by storing an ICE number in our Mobile phones today!

“Please forward this. It won’t take too many ‘forwards’ before everybody will know about this . It really could save your life or the life of a loved one. Make sure all children have this on their cell phones . ICE will speak for you when you are not able to.

So, that’s the message being circulated via email at Linda’s hospital. One possibility might be to circulate this article among cryonicists with the suggestion that they send a copy to their local medical organizations, inquiring if this practice has been adopted in their areas and recommending that if this not the case, it might be a good idea. This would accomplish two things:

1.   It would increase the rapidity of the spread of this practice, in general and…

2. It would make the medical community, in general, even more aware of the fact that an increasing number of persons have arrangements for cryonic suspension; and that prompt notification of their organizations, even in cases that are not immediately life-threatening, is helpful as part of the tracking of health status that these organizations maintain.