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I.C.E. – In Case of Emergency Information & Apps for your Smartphone

August 3, 2011 by · 9 Comments 

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This week I chose to write about a serious issue; having enough emergency information available on your person, if your are ill or injured and unable to speak, to give police and emergency caregivers the kind of information they need that might save your life or meet your wishes.

Especially if you have a chronic illness, but even if you’re healthy, you might find yourself unconscious in an emergency room following a vehicular accident. If so, seconds count. While caregivers rush about, trying to stabilize you, one of them will be looking for pertinent information about you that might help them save critical time and avoid doing anything that might make your condition even worse.

Their knowing what your current medical condition is, what medications you might be taking and who to contact on your behalf could save your life. There are a number of ways to do this; writing the important information down on a small slip of paper or a card, to be carried in your wallet, is one way. Immediate care givers are trained to look for this. But what if your wallet has been misplaced during the commotion or you’re a drowning victim from a boating trip; they might not be able to find the information that they need soon enough. BTW, if you’re in a boat, I assume you have your wallet and phone in a ZipLoc bag. ;)

Another serious subject is your right to refuse extraordinary care. If you have a prior condition or are damaged so severely that you don’t want extraordinary care (as in being kept alive by machines), the doctors need to know that.

Another issue is whether you want to donate any or all of your organs upon your death. This decision needs to be made within minutes of your death in order to have viable organs available for donation. You may also want your religious needs known.

These are not pleasant subjects, but for RVers, who may be thousands of miles away from other family or decision makers, they are necessary issues to think about. Even if you travel with your wife or other family members or friends, if the worst happens… Well, in all the confusion that would occur, it’s best to have this kind of information clearly available and not being asked of an injured or panicked fellow traveler. A will can be read anytime after your death; it can wait, but critical immediate care knowledge cannot.

If you have a smartphone, any one of the many that are now on the market, you can also create a shortcut to a small text file stored in the phone that provides all of the necessary information. Call it “ICE;” In Case of Emergency, for example. I’ve read that emergency room personnel are trained to look for it. Yes, they’ll also go through your wallet or purse if they have it, so, hopefully, they’ll find that small note, too.

But, speaking of Smartphones, you can use it to provide an ICE notification as well as satisfy your inner geekyness. Apps, short for applications, provide a single click access to a clearly structured, flexible, easily updatable ICE file. I have a BlackBerry. My ICE file uses this icon and provides a lot of pre-labled sections as well as an “important notes” section for whatever additional information you might want to provide (such as organ donation instructions). It’s available from “Apps for BlackBerry.” There are various other apps offering the same sort of support available at this site. “Emergency Information” from Apps for Blackberry is a free download. Other apps cost from nothing to just a few dollars.

Some screenshots to show you how my App looks and works:

Till Next Time,

The Traveler

Comments

9 Responses to “I.C.E. – In Case of Emergency Information & Apps for your Smartphone”
  1. Fred M Pfeiffer says:

    Now if you could recommend a program for the iPhone it would mean something. iPhone represent a far greater number of Smart phones than the BlackBerrys have ever done.

  2. Traveler8343 says:

    Good point Fred, but we were told to focus on apps that we personally were using, and I’ve got a BlackBerry. With all of the new Tablets and operating systems that are coming out, it’s getting tough to know which App will work with what equipment. I took a quick look at the Apple App site and, amazingly, I couldn’t find a similar App. I know that it must be there somewhere, since Apple has the most Apps bar none.

    Maybe one of our other readers can find it for us. I’ll keep looking in the meantime. Thanks for your input.

    Traveler

  3. Traveler8343 says:

    Hey Fred!

    I found it: “Medfile”

    Traveler

  4. Traveler8343 says:

    Fred,

    Sorry, false alarm. The links don’t work. There are hundreds of these small App companies. This one probably went belly-up.

    Traveler

  5. Hans says:

    Yep, right on Traveler. Great subject. I have a laminated card in my wallet that has my blood type, tells the doc I’m not allegic to anything, and I would be happy to donate if there is no hope for me (its also on my WA driver license). I also put number 1, then the word Wife, then her name as the first contact in my cell phone (by putting number 1 ahead of the name it automatically becomes the first name in the directory). Hope its never needed, but you know I make my living on the road and I see heartbreak almost every day out there. As a traveler away from home many times throughout the year I’m alone so I wouldn’t have any one to speak for me at those times. Thanks for sharing. Hans

  6. Janice Coe says:

    I have always used an ICE listing on my phone-but…….and this is a big but..since most smartphones have an automatic screen lock on them, how would emergency personel access the information if they can’t turn on the screen?

  7. Traveler8343 says:

    This is a bring-up on a question from Janice Coe:

    Janice Coe says:
    August 12, 2011 at 6:57 am (Edit)
    I have always used an ICE listing on my phone-but…….and this is a big but..since most smartphones have an automatic screen lock on them, how would emergency personel access the information if they can’t turn on the screen?

    Response from JaredCo, Monday, August 15th. They admitted in an earlier eMail that their App cannot break-in if the screen is locked. They then responded to my question about “What then?”
    Hi,

    This is in reference with your Request Ticket Number: ST00210803.

    You can get the wallet card from here:

    http://www.jaredcompany.com/faq.html

    Please reply back to this email without changing the subject line if you have any further questions or concerns.

    JaredCo Support Team

    Check out the JaredCo App Store: http://store.jaredcompany.com
    Check out the JaredCo Blog: http://blog.jaredcompany.com
    Follow us on FaceBook For Fans only discounts: http://www.facebook.com/JaredCo

  8. Hareiana says:

    Another important emergency information is to do with our credit cards in case these are lost. I recently heard about one website that is becoming the darling of many smart travelers, it allows tagging of important items that can be lost like passports, credit cards, wallets, etc which can help these find the way back to the owner if lost anywhere in the world, and it can also keep emergency information handily and securely available online in case we need to call our credit card company immediately. The website is called antilosta at http://www.antilosta.com

  9. Traveler8343 says:

    Hareiana,

    Thank you for the helpful link. Sorry about the delay in responding to you. My PC went belly-up on me. It’s still gasping for air, sometimes working and sometimes not.

    The loss of critical information in today’s digital infoverse reminds me of the good old days when many business persons’ lives were stored in their trusty Filofax or Daytimer. Trusty until lost, that is. A friend lost his while traveling on business with me. I thought that he was going to have a heart attack; all of his contact, critical notes and schedule of items due and meetings to be held were GONE. It took him weeks to recover. Months late he was still getting angry phonecalls asking why he hadn’t shown up for meetings that were scheduled months before.

    Our lives have become so complicated. Having dozens of to-do’s and meetings to keep track of has now been replaced by “meetings” with my doctors. ;)

    Traveler

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