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ICE - In Case of Emergency

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM),
and ICE means In Case of Emergency. REACT wants
you to know all about this new cell phone safety
concept called ICE. The timing couldn't be better.

REACT is a proud participant in the NPM Coalition,
a nationwide safety effort co-sponsored by the American Red Cross and the Department of Homeland Security. NPM is designed to encourage families in making simple preparations for emergencies.

ICE (In Case of Emergency) uses your cell phone directory to tell police or others whom to contact in an emergency. REACT says having this vital information readily available in your cell phone can help authorities save your life.

The ICE concept is simple. Paramedic Bob Brotchie originated it in the U.K. last year. See   Recent terrorist attacks in London, Egypt and elsewhere have suddenly highlighted its safety value worldwide. Here's how it works.

Storing ICE numbers in your cell phone is simple. Enter your emergency contacts as ICE-Mom, ICE-Sis, ICE-Bro, ICE-Dad, ICE-Ken, etc., each with the appropriate phone number. If you have existing medical problems, you can identify the person with detailed knowledge of your meds and/or condition as ICE-Med. Your ICE contacts will all appear together in the directory.

Multiple ICE contacts are very important, REACT emphasizes. Authorities recommend at least five. They give emergency personnel a choice of whom to call. Sis or Bro may be a better choice than an elderly Mom or Dad in the circumstances. They also increase the probability that authorities will be able to reach one or more of your ICE contacts.

At least one of your ICE contacts should be an out-of-town number. We all recall what happened to local cell phone calls on 9-11. Typing in a space or a period before the I in each ICE entry may place all your ICE contacts right at the head of your list. Not all cell phones are capable of this, but it is worth a try.

REACT reminds you to tell in advance those you choose to be your ICE contacts. Also, REACT encourages you to use your ICE listings routinely to call those people. That will ensure the numbers are always current and correct. It will also save double listings, to conserve memory.

ICE contacts are important. Your "Emergency Card" is equally so. It can carry detailed information on your allergies, meds, condition, etc., that will greatly assist emergency personnel, especially if for some reason they can't reach any of your ICE contacts.

Get an "Emergency Card" from your local REACT Team or your Red Cross chapter. Carry it in your wallet or purse. It is wise to laminate the card, once completed, to protect the information on it. You need both, ICE contacts and an "Emergency Card". Each backs up the other.

REACT is a volunteer safety communications organization. Team members monitor emergency 2-way radio frequencies to relay calls for assistance to authorities. REACTers also provide safety communications for local events such as run-a-thons, parades and others. REACT teams offer holiday "Safety Breaks" for highway travelers, mall safety displays and presentations on emergency radio and cell phone use to local groups during National Preparedness Month and throughout the year.

Be cool. Put ICE into your cell phone directory right now. Help authorities to save your life. For more information on NPM, go to and click on "National Preparedness Month". For more information on REACT visit