Can Your Cell Phone Save Your Life?
Your cell phone can be a real life saver, but can it save your life? You bet it can, and here’s how.
Can you imagine your life without that electronic appendage of yours? I’m taking about your cell phone. Hard to imagine isn’t it? If you’re like most people, it’s the main way that you connect with your family, friends and business associates. But few people viewed it as their literal lifeline. On 9/11 all that changed. As workers in and around the World Trade Center began running for their lives, they didn’t necessarily have the time or presence of mind to grab their purses or briefcases. But many of them were smart enough to have made a habit out of always having their cell phone within reach. They grabbed the phone and were able to reach their spouses or their children as they walked down the stairs, before cell phone towers gave out from the overwhelming traffic of users dialing each other all over New York and New Jersey.
How Disaster-Ready is Your Phone?
As the workers ran down endless flights of stairs to safety, many of them learned a very important lesson.
A cell phone is only as good as its battery life and the numbers & information that are stored on it!
Let’s take those lessons one at a time. The first one is easy to prevent. Keep your phone charged. The simplest way to do that is to keep a charger stand where you store your phone every evening, and charge it while you’re watching TV or helping the kids with their homework. What? You don’t keep your phone in the same place every night? That’s another one of those habits you need to get into! What if you had to grab it to make an emergency call in the middle of the night? While you’re at it, purchase an extra phone charger for the office and charge it during the day while you’re reading email or doing routine tasks at work.
Making Your Cell Phone Speak
Lesson two: You’ve been talking to your cell phone long enough. It’s time you make it speak for YOU – and in a way that can save your family’s lives.
During Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami and other recent disasters, someone came up with the idea of putting an ICE entry, (short for In Case Of Emergency), on your phone, to make your emergency contacts stand out to people reading it in an emergency. The idea quickly spread around the world, and most hospitals now look for ICE entries on the cell phones of unconscious patients.
If a disaster struck right now, where you’re sitting and the only thing you could grab was your cell phone, would you have everything you need to:
Reach the people you love
Be able to communicate your vital emergency contacts
Be able to communicate your basic medical information if you are injured and unable to speak for yourself
Survive until you reach home, your loved ones or your pre-planned safe location
That’s a lot of work for one little cell phone, but with some thought and planning, it’s easier than you think to turn your smart phone into your very own emergency command center. In fact we’re going to take this one step further to give you, hospitals and emergency personnel the information necessary to save you or your family member’s life, right in your ICE contacts.
For specific instructions for your type of phone, here are some of the other articles on our blog. iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, iPod/iPad.
But in general, here are the steps you need to take to ICE your phone.
Sit down with each member of your family and decide who their two main emergency contacts are going to be. Depending on your cell phone model, you should be able to put quite a bit of information right in that one contact. The contact name of course will be ICE, but you can put the contact’s first name and relationship, (for example Cynthia – Mom) in the company name field, so a doctor reading it, would know that this contact is the patient’s mother.
Play around with the other fields until you fill in all the information you possibly can. For example:
Your emergency contact’s main phone number
IM, Twitter and Facebook address if you need to send them emergency messages or quick updates
A direct URL link to your emergency contact information and basic medical history (optional)
For a second contact person, type in a second entry and name it ICE2.
Now about that last item – the direct URL Link. Let’s say you (or someone you love), are unconscious and unable to give the trauma team treating you, your basic medical history. Think about this for a moment. This means that you can’t tell them what medicines you’re allergic to or what conditions you might have that could prove fatal, if they don’t treat you, or your spouse or your child, with your personal medical histories in mind.
We always suggest that our customers use our comprehensive Grab it and Go Forms, to capture each family member’s medical and vital information, insurance numbers, emergency contact numbers and other life saving information. If you don’t have those forms you can make a basic version in Word or Excel. Although you don’t want to record anything that could compromise you or your family – like social security numbers or financial information – make sure that you put down everything you would tell a trauma physician about you or your loved one if you were standing in front of them.
Once you have saved the documents (one for each member of the family) on your computer, print out a couple of copies of each. Place one set at home, in a safe but easy to grab location. Place another set in your and your spouse’s file cabinet at work.
Now store one copy of the documents in the file manager of your personal web site, or secure online file system. Put the URL to this document or file into your cell phone. This way if you are injured, the hospital will be able to grab your medical history and extended emergency contacts. If your spouse, child or even a parent is injured and you are in another location, you can easily access that document and email it to the hospital to speed emergency treatment. You might even include a treatment consent form for your children, in case a hospital needs one to begin treating your child, before you arrive.
If your phone has the capability, you can also store those documents as well as a copy of your family’s emergency plan, right in your phone, in case you ever need it while away from home. You can note the names of the documents in the ICE contact for easy retrieval.
You now have the info you and anyone treating you, would need to have to save your life, reunite your family, and not only function, but thrive after an emergency or sudden disaster.
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…
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