In Case of Emergency

The ICE Plan, started by a British ambulance corps, has been given new impetus by the London bombings. This sort of bulk email message is broadly circulating:

“The idea is that you store the word ‘ I C E ‘ in your mobile phone address book, and against it enter the number of the person you would want to be contacted ‘In Case of Emergency’. In an emergency situation ambulance and hospital staff will then be able to quickly find out who your next of kin are and be able to contact them. It’s so simple that everyone can do it. Please do. Please will you also forward this to everybody in your address book, it won’t take too many ‘forwards’ before everybody will know about this. It really could save your life. For more than one contact name ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 etc.”

Unfortunately, hoax warnings — that having an ICE entry in your phone book could trigger premium charges by virtue of malicious text messages or viruses sent out randomly to search for such entries in receiving phones — have followed. As indicated by the Snopes page to which the above link points, such fears are groundless. I think the ICE idea is a good one, the only drawback being that in a casualty situation you may not have your phone with you or it might be damaged so that information on it is not readily retrievable. So I have a wallet card with my emergency contact information as well…