Question for emergency responders

I recently read that if you are incapacitated in an accident, emergency responders will go through your cell phone address book looking for entries like “ICE wife”, ICE standing for “In Case of Emergency,” and call that person. Is this true? Would pretty much any emergency responder recognize that entry in a cell phone address book, and know to call that number?

I’ve wondered this also. My phone has an option to label an entry “In Case Of Emergancy,” then that entry is coded red in my contact list.

Wikipedia article doesn’t offer much help. Snopes article isn’t much help either.

It wouldn’t hurt to try but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. Snopes explains why.

Well cell phones were still outside the price of the masses when I was an EMT, even so we would try and check an ID to at least associate a name with the patient. The hospital would handle the familial contacts. EMS personell are usually primarily interested in addressing the problem, less so the specifics of who you are and who should be contacted WRT your wishes. If you really want that get something akin to a medicalert bracelet or necklace and engrave the info there. Those will be checked.

If we find you unconscious on the side of the road, we’re probably not going to go through your cell phone looking for numbers to call. However, it will help later on at the hospital if there’s no other way of identifying you.

St. Urho

I’m not an emergency responder, but I have extensive experience with a “lost and found” department that gets lots of lost cell phones. The first thing we look for is anything labeled “mom” or “parents”. Mom always knows another way to contact you (or in yours case, who you are).

Expanding on St. Urho’s response, I’ve never looked through a patient’s belongings to find their identity or other information about them, short of a medic alert bracelet/necklace.

Prehospital, I have way too much to do, and not a lot of time to do it in. My area is blessed with quite short transport times (< 10 minutes from the most remote places, usually), so I might just be starting my secondary surv…sorry, detailed assessment as we’re backing up to the ER door.

Once in the hospital, though, the folks there will do the notification stuff. I haven’t the foggiest if they’re looking at cell phone address books.

I’ve never had the time to go through someone’s cell phone. The deceased patients I’ve been involved with have all been at home or had a relative with them already.

FWIW, the ICE stuff would be relevant if you keeled over dead while you were by yourself in a public place, or piled up your car and were killed.

Seems to me that the old fashioned ‘card in the wallet’ is a hell of a lot more reliable than depending on a cell phone for this purpose. Not everything can be solved by high tech solutions. I guess you could have one of those ID chips injected into your bod if you must have an e-solution, but then you’d need some way to alert people that you have the chip. :dubious:

I’m on the “It can’t hurt” side of the equation. I marked my home number as such… (It’s called “home” too.)

Okay, so sounds like a big ‘no’ for responders. What about hospital personnel? I know there are a bunch on this board. Is an ‘i c e’ cell phone entry something you would look for?

It’s low tech, but it works. Road ID. Read some of the testimonials.

I bought a RoadID (Rick’s link) for myself, for my son, and for my MIL after a very similar thread here on the SDMB last year. Maybe that thread was about Medical Emergency bracelets; I can’t quite recall. I do recall first responders answering that thread, so it might be worth looking for to hear more insights on this topic.

The Road ID for my son was for when we are travelling. He doesn’t wear it at home, but if we’re somewhere else I like knowing he has all phone numbers (with area code) handy for himself or another adult to use.

I just thought I’d add one more perspective although a lot of emergency responders have already replied.

I work in two different modes: urban and wilderness (wilderness takes over whenever the patient is more than an hour from EMS.)
In urban mode, I will not go through a patient’s cell phone or wallet looking for information and I’m not going to call anyone besides 911. The primary concern is to get the patient to the ER in the minimum time (safety concerns included, of course - no driving the ambulance on the railroad tracks “shortcut.” :wink: ) More definitive care and notification of relatives, etc. can take place once the patient is in the hands of doctors and nurses.
In wilderness mode, it’s conceivable that I could come across an unresponsive patient and have to care for them over hours or days before turning over care to EMS - so far this has thankfully only happened to me during training. Once I’ve completed the ABCDEs and a head-to-toe exam, and performed whatever intervention might be needed, I’m going to look for more information if I don’t know why the patient is unresponsive (are they diabetic but without a bracelet or injection kit?) A great place to look will be the wallet and cell phone. If the cell phone works (the advance of technology does make it possible for you to be in a wilderness context and still have cell phone service,) calling someone (after I’ve already called 911 or the local equivalent) to find out more is probably a good idea.

Of course, that’s a lot of ifs, and I hope never to be in that situation.
wevets, Wilderness EMT

Adding an ICE number to your phone is pretty common in the UK and I assume it is used by the emergency services as it was originally an idea of a paramedic in East Anglia and the campaingn took off after the 7/7 bombings in London.

Having followed a couple of links I see it is being encouraged by emergency responders in some parts of the States at least.

Even if the EMS and ER docs don’t use it, I’d imagine hospital personnel trying to notify next of kin of injury or death might find it useful so I can’t see how it would hurt to program that into your cell phone.

(It’s programmed into mine).