Adding ICE To Your Phone May Save Your Life

By guest blogger Doug Johnson of Omni IT Solutions in Orange County. Doug can be reached at dougj@omni-it-solutions.com

We all know to put emergency contact info in or near our photo IDs in our wallet. And we’re all doing that, right?

But what if you had an accident requiring medical care and didn’t have your wallet or purse with you, only your phone?

Enter the ICE program (In Case of Emergency)
The original ICE program has been around since 2005, and is well known to first responders such as paramedics, firefighters, police and hospital personnel. First responders and good samaritans search for ICE on your phone, if no wallet or purse is available.

While there are several ICE apps on the market, contrary to what some may infer, it is not necessary to register or pay money to make an ICE entry on your phone. It is both free and simple to label contact(s) in your phone as “ICE”.

Ways to make ICE entries in your phone.
On Android, you can add ICE info to the “owner info” settings (under Settings > Security).

On an iPhone there is no in-built system. Here are three easy, free options:

  1. Add the words ICE to the name (or ICE1, ICE2, etc.).
    This is the easiest, but might confuse SIRI, and you'll see ICE every time you speak to that person.
  2. Add info to the Notes field.
    ICE1 – phone number – spouse. ICE2 – phone number – doctor. ICE3 - work., etc. That way responders know who, and if, that contact has multiple numbers and which one to try first.
  3. Add a URL to the contact.
    Custom label that URL field ICE. In the field, enter “tel:” (without quotes) and the phone number, i.e. tel:949-xxx-xxxx.
    The information will show up on the contact's main page, and the phone number will be clickable.

What if you lock your phone?
First responders can't search your phone for ICE if they can't get in.

Add emergency contact info to your favorite lock screen image and make that your new lock screen image. It will take all of five minutes to do with most image editors. You can even add allergy or any other information you feel pertinent.

Did you know you can also add text to photos on your phone? Our favorite app is Phonto (available free Android and IOS). As an added bonus, you'll be able to create fun memes to share on your family, friends and social media.

So why still keep the piece of paper in your wallet?
In a real emergency, every second counts. LAFD tells people to add ICE contact information in your cell phone after you’ve affixed similar information to (or near) the official photo identification you routinely carry in your wallet. With so many types of wireless phones, it can take precious minutes to learn how to access a phone's directory.

Pockets are quicker to check than phones, but responders will check your phone if need be. Isn't is better to be safe than sorry? Why not do both?


Doug Johnson - Guest Blogger - OMNI IT Orange County