Monday, March 12, 2007

ICE Numbers

It is sad to say that cell phones have become almost ubiquitous. Students appear to have them surgically implanted onto the sides of their heads. Graduate students can only be traced by calling their cell number. There are commercials for specialised services from the Disney corporations for families with kids. There are even custom models for seniors. Although this has brought a lot of convenience, it is not something I entirely approve of. There is an idea concerning cell phone though that I do think is excellent and I want to both share and advocate. This is the ICE number.

The idea originated with an the East Anglia ambulance service of Britain. One of the problems faced by emergency personnel is figuring out who their victims are. People with serious complaints often carry special ID tags and cards, but most of the rest of us do not. The East Anglian ambulance service suggested that people should program an emergency contact number into their cell phones, associated with the name ICE. ICE is supposed to stand for 'In Case of Emergency'.

Should an accident befall an individual, then the emergency personnel could call this number, both to alert loved one and also to get crucial information about their new patients. When there were terrorist bombings in London on the 7th of July 2005, a large number of the dead and injured had ICE numbers programed, which enabled the emergency services to figure out who they were. Thus, this is an idea with a powerful track record.

Some general advice about setting up ICE numbers can be found here. More general information about the program can be found here. In fact, the popularity of the program has been such that the phrase 'ICE number' has now been granted admission into the English language by the MacMillan English Dictionary.

So, in the interests of greater safety, I urge you to program an ICE number. I have had one programed for a while now. I also urge you to tell others about the idea. Cell phones are one of the more obnoxious intrusions of modern life. However, if they can be put to a good use such as this, then perhaps they can be tolerated a little more easily.

The CP


Blogger Veronica said...

Cool. I am apparently the only adult in the US without a cell. It throws people off guard.

"No, you don't get it. I hate the phone. Any phone. All phones," just does not compute.

8:31 PM  

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