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‘ICE' urged for use in cell, phone book
By JIM OSBORN/Telegram Staff Writer
COLUMBUS - A national campaign to turn cell phones into a source of
information for emergency personnel arriving at the scene of accidents,
fires and disasters has gotten a cool reception in the Columbus area
during the last year.
Cell phone users are being encouraged to list their emergency contacts
under the acronym ICE for “in case of emergency,'' a movement that Lt.
Terry Pfeifer of the Columbus Fire Department believes could be helpful
at emergency scenes.
“We haven't seen it (ICE contact lists) out on calls and I haven't
researched the issue, but it sounds like it could be a good idea out
in the field,'' Pfeifer said. “It could have its advantages and be a
useful tool in some situations.”
A British paramedic came up with the idea of asking cell phone users to
input an entry into their cellular phonebook called ICE. Accompanying
that acronym would be the name and phone numbers of the person who
should be called if something has happened to the owner of the phone.
The ICE campaign was launched in Britain in April, but people really
started paying attention after the July terrorist bombings in London
that killed 56 and injured hundreds.
An ICE contact list could be a better resource at the hospital after
paramedics or other emergency personnel have transported the patient
from the accident or disaster scene. Paramedics sometimes have to use
the precious minutes they have at the scene to concentrate on patient
care and don't have time to search for a cell phone.
Once at the hospital, personnel could find a cell phone's ICE contacts
useful in determining a patient's identification, Pfeifer said. Hospital
personnel would have more time after a patient has been stabilized,
During most calls, Pfeifer said paramedics are successful in calming
down a patient's relatives or friends at the scene and gaining the
identification and medical history information they need.