Did you know that your Windows Phone can save your life?
And it’s not just Windows Phones but any kind of smartphone, even the iPhone! The secret is letting your phone do the talking for you in an emergency. And the way to do that is with ICE. By the way if you’d like to download these instructions, just click here for the PDF version.
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 The Backup Plan 3.0, you should already have at least one ICE contact. So let’s learn how to set one up on your Nokia Lumia, HTC or other Windows Phone.
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.
Ready to set up your first ICE Contact?
Swipe over to Contacts, Tap New and if prompted, choose which account you want to add this contact to. Touch Name.
Type the word ICE first, followed by your contact’s first and last name. Why do you want to do this? The Windows Phone sorts your contacts by first name, by default. So unless you have changed it to sort by last name, emergency personnel will see the word ICE right away.
Do the same thing for your second ICE contact – then call it ICE2.
Here’s a tip: If your phone sorts by Last Name, you can change it by going into your People Settings and checking “Sort List By” First Name instead of Last Name.
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Time To Make Your Windows Phone 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: Put all the information you possibly can into your two ICE Contacts. For example:
Your emergency contact’s Main Number/Cell number/ Work number, Relationship to you
Email Address & IM, Twitter and Facebook address (in case landlines are down & you need to send an emergency message )
Other information, like the days that the contact is at a certain location
Be sure to include every piece of information you can. Why? Because you never know what type of communication will or won’t be working. For instance, after the Japan earthquake, many people were able to reach each other via Twitter or Facebook even though their landline phones and Wi-Fi weren’t working.
Adding And Using Fields
Like most smartphones, Windows Phones let you change, add or create Fields inside the contact, so that you can customize it as much as you like.
To Add additional fields or information to your contact, Tap Other.
One great field to add is Relationship, to tell emergency personnel who your contact is to you. But what about information that doesn’t fit into a field on your phone? 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 Other Types of Information Should I Put In My ICE Contact?
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. Or, 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.
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 the ones on this page. You can make your own, or download ours free, by going to the Free Resources Page. Once you’ve saved the graphic you like to the photos on your phone, just open your ICE Contact, Tap Add Photo, and choose the graphic, just as you would a photo of a friend, then choose Save.
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 iPod Touch or MP3 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 Windows Phone 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?
All you have to do is add your ICE information directly to your Lock Screen. Then all an emergency worker has to do is glance at your phone to find your ICE information.
Every Windows Phone is a little different, but here’s how to do it on a Windows Phone 8:
In the App list, tap Settings (looks like a gear) and choose Lock Screen. Expand the application bar on the bottom of the screen. Under Notifications, choose Lock Screen Text as the app to show detailed status and touch the back button.
Type “ICE Contact Information” in the text box, along with your contact’s name, relationship and phone numbers. Fit in whatever you can. Touch the check mark to accept the change. If necessary, check Done to save your changes.
Now your ICE information will appear right on your Lock Screen, no password needed. Problem solved!
Turn Your Phone Into A Mobile Command Center
While you’re at it, you can even turn your phone into a Mobile Command Center. Just store copies of your family’s medical history forms, emergency action plans, checklists and Evacuation Plan, right on your phone and those of each member of your immediate family. And while you have them, don’t forget to put ICE Contacts on their phones as well, including along with each other’s contact information. That way you can all get in touch with each other quickly in an emergency.
Would you like to download these instructions for later? Then click here to download the PDF version.
And if there’s an iPhone lurking around your family be sure to stop by our post on Setting Up An ICE Contact on Your iPhone. 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.
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…
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