During my career, as a paramedic, I recognized I was constantly accessing, or trying to access, mobile phones of the unconscious, or semi-conscious casualty. Realizing that individuals were increasingly carrying a phone, but no valid I.D. To that end, out of observed necessity, became the conceptualization of ICE – In Case of Emergency. ~ British Paramedic Bob Brotchie ~ Creator of ICE – In Case Of Emergency
In 2004, while a serving paramedic and critical care clinician, indeed it was this year that saw me complete a three-year tour as a helimed medic in the U.K. I was privileged to have been at the forefront of British pre-hospital trauma medicine. I could not forget the delay of obtaining details and notifying a loved one at an incident. As scene manager I had sufficient resources to attempt this process. As a paramedic I promoted the Original ICE – In Case Of Emergency quietly since the heady days of the mid-2000’s. Now, as a retired paramedic, I have re-entered the arena to ensure uniformity to the public and responder communities that count on ICE.
Mobile phone use was in the ascendancy – and not going away anytime soon!
The same experiences being repeated brought me to ask myself this question “How can we create a uniform approach to capitalize this new technology and make the best use of ICE?” Discovering there was no solution yet to be found, I then began considering acronyms with a view that ‘if’ something memorable and easy were available, what could this mean for both members of the public and first responders?
I.C.E – In Case of Emergency was born upon the realization to vastly improve identification and notification for those unable to communicate for themselves.
But discovering ICE was only the beginning of the challenge. I now had to canvass opinion and perform diligence to see if this could possibly already in use, in the context that I had intended it. And this is why it was almost a year before ICE came to the attention of the world.
Major telecoms giant, Vodafone (In the U.K), agreed to support investigating public interest, and the promotion of the idea. I was invited to appear on multiple regional TV programs and conduct a vast number of radio interviews in the U.K, and across the world.
In 2005 – out of tragedy came light; CBS News reports on ICE
When London was confronted by the terrorist bombings of July 7th in 2005, the media created an interest in ICE and the interest became viral. Appearing on CBS across the U.S to talk about ICE was one highlight, and there were many more similar experiences to come.
“British paramedic Bob Brotchie, tells The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen Tuesday the idea came to him “just from reflecting on difficulties I’ve had in obtaining information about patients. The vast majority of people don’t carry emergency contact details or next-of-kin details, but the vast majority of people carry cell phones.” Read More
“I think the most pleasing aspect of the concept has been its ability to self-proliferate, such has been the interest, ICE has complemented the efforts of so many involved in emergency preparedness. The public are also a critical component, of course, and without their support in sharing the campaign ICE would have perhaps faded into obscurity.”
Simplicity and uniformity of the ICE concept;
In order to ensure identity is confirmed, while notifying the next-of-kin, and understanding any pertinent medical history, so to reduce iatrogenic injury, etc, came a concept so simple and uniform – ICE. ICE worked before “smartphones” and ICE continues to advance with new technologies!
Putting ICE on your phone is as easy as this:
- Simply add an ICE prefix to an agreed ICE contact
- Name your contact, such as; “ICE – Sam”, or, “ICE – Dad”
- ICE 1 & 2 are options as well
But what if the phone is ‘locked’?
Maintaining a locked phone is a matter of choice, I suggested, in the days before smartphones, if the phone security is paramount, choose another ICE type method, perhaps a card to carry with relevant details. To my mind this was a golden opportunity to encourage ‘preparedness awareness‘ and continue to present alternative solutions. To this day that i am writing, we continue to morph with technology, and as such, now for those locked screens, “We Have an App for That.”
It has been over the decade and some thousands of hours later. Having consulted on numerous ICE derivatives and sought political and phone manufacturer support, we now have smartphones regularly including some form of health data fields and various ways of ‘Icing the phone’.
All this advancement and could there be cause to celebrate? Sadly not! I attribute the majority of the success around ICE as being due to its simplicity and uniformity. Be aware; the uniform approach is being diluted via the many different methods being created by phone manufacturers and other developers.
Does your ICE app have “The Bob Brotchie Seal” of Approval? Having so identifies a quality trusted resource backed by global media exposure, professional experiences and years of research.
See related; ICE4Autism Mobile App
The Original ICE – In Case Of Emergency is supported by my colleagues both old and new. Our collective message is to watch for knockoffs. Don’t get the wrong ICE app with similar ‘wallpaper creators’ for the locked screen. Sadly, many of these, once available, are without the necessary customer care or required attention for preserving the integrity of the app. Some have little interest in the goals of ICE, seeking a quick buck, for minimal effort. Noted; there have been others who have had the right moral compass, but ICE does require constant attention and resourcing that only the Original ICE developers continue to bring.
Bob retired from active paramedic service in 2012 after 19 years serving front-line medicine. Today, Bob continues to promote and develop the Original ICE – In Case Of Emergency. As well he has a counselling practice. Other roles are within start-up and innovation consultancy and in his ‘spare time’ he is a school ambassador for sciences and technology. A keen social media advocate, Bob can be found via some of the links below, and more besides!
#ICEcampaign #ICEmyPHONE #InCaseOfEmergency #CallMyFamily