Everybody from business magnate to domestic help to high school kid has a mobile phone these days. This gave paramedic Bob Brotchie of the East Anglia Ambulance Service in the U.K., the idea for his ICE campaign. Bob was often in emergency situations wondering whom to call to inform about an emergency, when he hit upon this idea.

Short for ‘In Case of Emergency’, the ICE campaign addresses medical emergencies and accidents. The idea is, if we were to be involved in an accident or suddenly fall unconscious in a public space, the people who try to help us would have our mobile phone but wouldn’t know whom to call. But imagine if there was to be a contact number stored in our mobile phones, which could be easily identified as the person to be contacted during an emergency. This is your ICE number.

The advantage is that the passerby, paramedic or police officer, who would be attending to you, could immediately dial your ICE number and not just give the information about the emergency to them, but also get from them critical medical information that’s crucial fortreatment. Doctors say many lives are lost because proper treatment was not administered to the victim during the golden hour (the first hour after the mishap). ICE can perhaps help us get the right treatment in time.

“When I attended emergencies, most of the time, people were unable to speak to me and we were unable to find out who they were. Though many people carry mobile phones, we couldn’t discover whom to contact fast enough. It occurred to me that if we had a uniform approach to searching inside a mobile phone for an emergency contact, then that would make it easier for everyone,” Bob had said in an interview to the BBC Radio service.

The ICE campaign is spreading globally. To join, enter your parent/spouse/sibling/friend’s phone number — the person you’d like to contact during an emergency — in your cell phone address book under the name ‘ICE’. You may store multiple emergency contacts as ‘ICE1’, ‘ICE2’, etc. You can also download free ICE stickers from www.icesticker.com that identifies you even at a glance as having an ICE number in your mobile. Brotchie has called upon manufacturers to provide an ICE heading in the number lists of mobile phones.

Spread the concept of ICE. You might be saving yours’ as well as others’ lives.

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