06 April 2011

ICE, ICE baby - it just might save your life

IMAGINE you were in a car accident, or fainted in public, or were involved in some other incident where paramedics, fire-fighters or police were called to the scene. Imagine you were unable to talk to the emergency services. How would they find out important medical information for you or let your next of kin know of the incident? ICE.

ICE is the name if the movement where your “In Case of Emergency” contact or contacts are saved in your mobile phone under “ICE” to enable easy identification of who to speak to in an emergency. 
The idea was allegedly conceived by British paramedic Bob Brotchie in 2005 and has gained worldwide acknowledgment and acclaim ever since. Brotchie, after noticing patients usually had a mobile phone with them when he attended incidents, reasoned that the ICE contact idea would aid all emergency workers.
Sound like a brilliant, simple idea? Yes? Not to everyone. There have been multiple criticisms about ICE.
Firstly, some critics argue emergency personnel on site are time poor, so next of kin wouldn’t be contacted prior to admittance to hospital. There is some merit to this criticism. Emergency personnel are extremely busy and time poor, especially at the scene of an incident. However I have personally been in a situation where paramedics called three contacts in a friend’s phone until they could relay the message of a car accident injury. I’m sure many people out there would have a similar story.
Secondly, critics argue contacting relatives about a seriously injured person is a sensitive task, making phone contact with next of kin inappropriate. There is merit in this argument also, however in this day and age society in general are prone to receiving both good and bad news via the phone. Furthermore, if emergency staff are too time poor and busy to call next of kin (as in above criticism), what are the chances they have the time to drive out to someone and relay information face to face instead.
Thirdly, critics have said that most people’s next of kin is their parents, whose details are normally saved in person’s mobile under “Mum” or “Dad” anyway. Again, definitely merit to this argument also, but (a big, whopping huge but), not true for all. If I were in any sort of incident where my next of kin needed to be contacted, the absolute last people I would want contacted would be my parents. For those whose parents are their emergency contact, what if they are saved under “pet names” for their parents? Are emergency personnel familiar with culturally significant names or foreign languages? Would emergency services know “Baba” is the Armenian name for “Dad”?
Whether you agree or disagree with the critics of ICE, ask yourself, what is the harm? What ill can come from having contact saved in your phone under ICE??

Have you saved ICE contact/s in your phone?

1 comment:

  1. I Also thought people would just call "Mum" in my phone but as you have pointed out, there is no harm in putting "ice" in your phone also which i have just done. Thanks :-)