Okay, phone numbers and an email address maybe, but why should I put my emergency contact’s Facebook or Twitter link in my ICE Contact?
Glad you asked…
In the middle of a busy, but quiet day in a Midwestern university lecture hall, the silence was pierced by a sudden hail of gunfire. Students ran out of the hall and ducked under tables. Those who couldn’t move tried to make themselves as invisible as possible until help arrived. That day at Northern Illinois University, five students lost their lives. Many others were injured. As the police and security were struggling to control the situation, a number of the student’s parents not only knew that their children were all right, but they knew exactly what was happening in real time. So how did some people have a window into the NIU tragedy while others did not? Facebook and Twitter! As unlikely as it sounds, students ingeniously found a way to use their favorite method of keeping in touch with friends, as a tool to connect to the outside world in the middle of a crisis.
Students caught under desks and tables grabbed their smartphones and started communicating. Tweets went out on Twitter, notes and messages went up on Facebook pages, telling friends and family that students, who were literally in the thick of things, were all right. Others told loved ones or security officers the location of trapped students, facilitating their rescue. Friends started texting each other to find out where everyone was and, in the hours that followed, created Facebook pages memorializing the fallen. It was an amazing display of people, who are connected 24/7, using that same technology to communicate, connect, survive and heal.
That story has played out again and again during Oklahoma tornadoes, Superstorm Sandy and even the Japan earthquake. In fact during the Japan earthquake, cell phone towers barely worked because of earthquake damage and overloaded networks. But Wi-Fi? Wi-Fi was up and running. So the things that the Japanese connected with their families and the outside world, were Twitter, Facebook, Skype and YouTube!
Smartphones, tablets and notebook computers are a phenomenal way to stay in touch during an emergency. Whether you send an email, text, tweet or Facebook message, you can find out the location and condition of everyone you love in seconds.
And the best way to do that, is to include the links (or screen names) of your family’s social media accounts, right inside your ICE Contact. Not only will this ensure that you remember the strange assortment of letters in Uncle Fred’s screen name, but it will also give emergency personnel another way to reach your family members, if you need help.
In a dire emergency, you can even send help, confirm or update emergency plans and even mobilize family and friends using social media, because with it, you’ll always have real time information.
The one thing about emergencies, is that they’re completely unpredictable. The best way to prepare for them, is to give yourselves as many different avenues of communication as possible.
You never know which one will make the difference.
Want to learn how to put an ICE Contact on your phone the RIGHT way? Then check out our other posts How To Put An ICE Contact On Your iPhone, or How To ICE Your Samsung Galaxy to learn everything you need to know about ICEing your phone. And while you’re feeling proactive, don’t forget to put ICE Contacts on your spouse’s and kid’s phones too, along with each other’s contact information.
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…
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