ICE: Setting up in-case-of-emergency contact on your smartphone

Locked iPhone with Medical ID
photo: Patrick Benko
Did you know that your smartphone could help save your life in an emergency?

Say you’re hurt in a tornado or flood, for instance, and you slip out of consciousness. You’re rushed to the hospital, where medical teams heroically treat your injuries. There’s no one there to share your medical information or tell people who to contact. So now what?

That’s where having ICE — or in-case-of-emergency — information on your phone comes in. ICE is contact information for a trusted person. With a little planning ahead, your phone can share medical details and contact information with emergency workers, even if you can’t.

You can add ICE information easily in your phone contacts. Just add a new contact like you normally would. Pick your emergency person and include their phone number, email and other info. Then name that listing as ICE. Voilà! Your ICE information is now on your phone for emergency workers to find, right there under the letter “I.”

But how will emergency workers get access if your phone is locked? Good question.
If you have an iPhone with iOS 8 or higher, there’s an ICE feature within your Health app. It will share information under the “Medical ID” option on your phone’s emergency screen even if the phone is locked. Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Choose the “Health” app. 
  2. On the bottom panel, select “Medical ID.”
  3. Accept the disclaimer by choosing “Create Medical ID.”
  4. Fill out all the requested information, including details on allergies and blood type.
  5. Choose “done” on the top right corner of the page to save your information.

Want to see if it works? Lock your phone and slide to unlock. Choose “Emergency.” On the bottom left-hand corner, “Medical ID” will appear. Click on it to see your saved information.

If you have an Android phone, there are apps you can download to share ICE and medical information on your locked phone as well.

Another easy idea that will work for any phone is to add an ICE phone number directly on your home screen image. That way it shows anytime someone turns on your phone. Just download an app that allows you to add text to photos, add the number and save the image as your home screen wallpaper.

Still not convinced? Luckily, you can also let emergency responders know your medical conditions and ICE info the old-fashioned way, with a paper card in your wallet.

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