ICE Your Cellphone

By Cherry Chambers | Contributor

When was the last time your cell phone saved your life? Cell phone users are now encouraged to participate in a helpful program called In Case of Emergency or ICE that turns cell phones into emergency tools. ICE is free to users, but the cost of not using it may be the heftier price paid.  

Many medical emergencies including auto accidents and fires require victims to receive immediate treatment, but emergency personnel are often hampered by the lack of necessary contact information to get permission to treat minors or students, the severely injured or unconscious victims. ICE has been proven very effective across the country where many individuals from emergency personnel to emergency victims have experienced the benefits from the program. The easier it is for emergency personnel to contact family members, the quicker they can give needed and sometimes critical treatment.

Bob Brotchie, a paramedic, came up with the idea of ICE after repeatedly losing valuable time in emergency situations trying to determine who to contact when victims were unable to tell him. This ICE program can give vital information and help with the treatment of patients. he process is quick. 

“Programming your cell phone is so easy, we should have thought of it long before now,” said one emergency worker after being told about ICE.

The program actually took off in the spring of 2005, and quickly gained popularity among emergency personnel. Many Georgia counties have been using the program for several years, but the tremendous increase in cell phone use among minors and students makes the use of the program imperative. Including quickly identifiable contact information in cell phone directories ensures that the right people are contacted. 

To ICE your phone, simply enter your preferred emergency contact phone numbers in your cell phone contact list. More than one ICE number may be used and they may be listed in order of priority just by adding the number one, two, three and so forth to the ICE listing. In this way rescue teams may get necessary contact information by checking the victim’s cell phone. While it is not a foolproof system, in many cases ICE can make a life saving difference in the speed of EMA medical treatment when consent from a parent or guardian is needed. 

A free app is available that allows you to customize your choices and even add personal messages. For more information about the ICE program, contact your local Emergency Management Agency or go to the website at