Did you know that your iPhone can save your life?
The secret is letting your phone do the talking for you in an emergency. And the way to do that, is with iCE.
What is ICE?
During Hurricane Katrina, so many people were injured, unconscious and separated from their families that emergency workers came up with the idea of putting an iCE – In Case Of Emergency – Contact in their cell phones. Now, when a patient who is unconscious or unable to speak comes into the emergency room, hospitals worldwide check their smartphone for an iCE contact, to help them locate their next of kin.
Everyone in your family should have an iCE contact in his or her smartphone. In fact, they should have two just in case the first contact is unavailable. If you have our book Get Your Stuff Together you should already have at least one iCE contact. But in case you don’t, grab your iPhone 4, iPhone 5, 5S or any other kind of iPhone you have and let’s get started.
And by the way, if you need instructions for your Samsung Galaxy instead, click here.
Grab Your Phone & Let’s Get Started
Before you begin, you’d better decide who your iCE Contacts will be.
The first one of course will be your spouse, partner, best friend or close relative. Someone that you want there with you at the hospital or, if need be, making decisions on your behalf. But what if that person is also injured, or is out of town or forgot to charge their phone? Why not choose one additional person to be an iCE Contact – someone very close to you, who you know will drop everything to race to your side and handle things until your significant other can be reached.
Let’s set up your first iCE Contact.
Touch the Contacts Icon on your iPhone to open up your Contacts. Click on the plus sign + to add a new contact and touch the Name Field. Don’t put the name of your contact in this field, only the word ICE.
Now touch the Company Name Field. Here is where you put your contact’s name and his or her relationship to you. For example, John Jones – Husband. That way a doctor or nurse reading it, will know that this contact is your husband.
There’s actually an important reason that we’re setting it up this way, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
Time To Make Your iPhone Do Some Heavy Lifting…
The best thing about a smartphone is that you can put everything that you need to communicate, right inside this one contact. Here’s the basic information you need to include:
♦ Your emergency contact’s main phone number, mobile number and work number.
♦ Email Address & IM, Twitter or Facebook address (these are vital in case you need to send that contact an emergency message or quick update).
♦ Your contact’s schedule if there are specific days that he or she is at a certain location.
♦ Be sure to include every piece of information you can. Why? When people are injured in a regional emergency, like a tornado or an earthquake, not every type of communication will be working. For instance, after the Japan earthquake, many people were able to reach each other via Twitter or Facebook even though their landlines and Wi-Fi weren’t working.
Like most smartphones, your iPhone lets you change, add or create fields inside the contact, so that you can customize it as much as you like. In general, all you need to do is touch and hold the name of the field that you want to change. This will bring up a menu of alternate field names to choose from, including the option to Create A Field and add whatever you need.
But what about information that doesn’t fit into an iPhone field? That’s when you turn to your new best friend – the Notes section. Notes holds quite a bit of information, so simply put the miscellaneous information you need to communicate, in there.
What kind of information?
A list of Allergies, the Medications you’re currently taking, Names and Phone Numbers of your Healthcare Providers and contact information for your Insurance Company. Just make sure you don’t put any member numbers, social security numbers or financial information in your phone.
What Other Types of Information Should I Put In My iCE Contact?
Whatever you want. Let’s say that two or three lines of Current Medications and Allergies isn’t enough. Then why not create a medical history form for yourself and every member of the family, put it in a password protected online folder, and place the link to it in the Notes section of your iCE Contact. This way a doctor can access your, your spouse’s or your kid’s basic medical history, while you’re en route to the hospital.
If you don’t have your own Medical History Form, go ahead and download ours. Just right click on the link and save it to your desktop.
And while you’re at it, you can put medical treatment release forms for your children in the folder as well, and place the links to those forms in their ICE contacts. You can also put in links to a full list of contacts or emergency numbers, or links to your family’s evacuation plan and gathering locations, so that every member of your family always has all the information they need, right at their fingertips.
By the way, don’t forget to make emergency cards for your family too. Download them here, and tuck them into their wallets with their ID, just in case their mobile phones can’t be accessed after an accident or regional emergency.
Let’s Make Sure No One Misses It!
Make your ICE contacts stand out by using the Add Photo function to upload a graphic like this one.
You can either make your own graphic or we have free ones you can use by downloading our free ICE My Phone Kit.
What About The Rest of The Family?
Every family has one person who keeps everyone else organized. And since you’re reading this post, something tells me it’s probably you!
If that’s the case, it’s up to you to ensure every member of your household not only has iCE Contacts set up on his or her phone, but that everyone’s phone contains all of the contact information for every other family member. That way you’ll be able to get in touch with each other as quickly as possible in an emergency.
And don’t forget that you can always put an iCE Contact in your family’s iPods or other devices as well. Just because you don’t have a phone with you while you’re running doesn’t mean you can’t stay safe!
What If Your Phone Is Password Locked?
I know what you’re thinking. iCE contacts are great – as long as emergency personnel can actually see my iCE information. But what if you lock your iPhone with a password?
Believe it or not, in many cities emergency workers aren’t allowed to break into a password protected mobile phone, even in an emergency. Which means that having an iCE contact on a password protected phone is useless, right?
As long as you set up your iCE contact correctly, all an emergency worker has to do is ask Siri to retrieve it for them!
And THAT is why we had you put nothing but the word iCE in the Name field of your iCE Contact.
Even when your iPhone is passcode locked, all you have to do is Press and Hold Down the Main Home Key on your phone to access Siri. Then say to Siri, “Contacts ICE”. Siri will then display all the information you have saved as iCE. If you place any other words in the name field besides iCE, your phone will sort it differently and Siri won’t recognize the contact as iCE.
Remember, if someone is looking for your iCE Contact, you may be unconscious and unable to communicate medical information for yourself. In fact, if you do tend to password lock your phone, you should definitely put vital medical information like allergies or chronic illnesses into the Notes Section of your contact as well, just in case the iCE contact is the only contact on your phone that medical personnel can access.
Take a look at the graphic below, to see what happens when you ask Siri for your iCE Contact.
And if you happen to be a healthcare professional, remember these instructions the next time you encounter an unconscious patient with a locked iPhone. Press and hold down the main home key to access Siri and say “Contacts ICE”. You never know. That one little question might just uncover all of the information you need to save a life!
What If Siri Won’t Bring Up That Contact When Your Phone Is Password Locked?
On a few iPhones, depending on the model and operating system, Siri won’t bring up any contacts when your phone is locked. The best time to find out if this is true for your phone, is now – before someone needs to find your iCE Contact! All you have to do is set up your contact, lock your phone and ask Siri for the contact.
If Siri doesn’t locate the contact, simply put your iCE Contact information on your lock screen as a graphic. Problem solved!
No matter what though, saving an iCE contact on your iPhone just got easier.
The new iPhone 6, 6 Plus and iOS 8 updates are equipped with a Medical ID. Be sure to read our post on putting an ICE Contact and filling out your Medical ID on your new iPhone 6. Or you can click on this link to download our free ICE My Phone Kit and follow our instructions to set up your family’s iCE Contacts.
Do yourself a favor. Take five minutes right now to set up your family’s iCE contacts. That way your family will have all the information they need to stay safe and secure, no matter what the situation.
Talk about peace of mind!
And by the way, if you need instructions for a Samsung Galaxy as well as an iPhone, click here.
More Amazing Things You Can Do In 5 Minutes Or Less
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