In 2005 a Cambridge-based paramedic launched a national campaign with Vodafone to encourage people to store emergency contact details in their mobile phones.
Bob Brotchie, a clinical team leader for the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust, hatched the plan after struggling to get contact details from shocked or injured patients.
By entering the acronym ICE - for In Case of Emergency - into the mobile's phone book, users can log the name and number of someone who should be contacted in an emergency. If you have more than one contact name you can use ICE1, ICE2, ICE3, etc.
The idea follows research carried out by Vodafone that shows more than 75 per cent of people carry no details of who they would like telephoned following a serious accident.
Bob, a paramedic, said: "I was reflecting on some of the calls I've attended at the roadside where I had to look through the mobile phone contacts struggling for information on a shocked or injured person. It's difficult to know who to call. Someone might have "mum" in their phone book but that doesn't mean they'd want them contacted in an emergency. Almost everyone carries a mobile phone now, and with ICE we'd know immediately who to contact and what number to ring. The person may even know of their medical history.
"By adopting the ICE advice, your mobile will now also help the rescue services quickly contact a friend or relative - which could be vital in a life or death situation."
The campaign is also asking people to think carefully about who will be their ICE partner - with helpful advice on who to choose - particularly if that person has to give consent for emergency medical treatment.
Bob hopes that all emergency services will promote ICE in their area as part of a national awareness campaign to highlight the importance of carrying next of kin details at all times.
(Source Wikipedia) For security purposes, many mobile phone owners now lock their mobiles, requiring a passcode to be entered in order to access the device. This hinders the ability of first responders to access the ICE phone list entry. In response to this problem, many device manufacturers have provided a mechanism to specify some text to be displayed while the mobile is in the locked state. The owner of the phone can specify their "In Case of Emergency" contact and also a "Lost and Found" contact. For example, BlackBerry mobiles permit the "Owner" information to be set in the Settings → Options → Owner menu item.
Alternatively, some handsets provide access to a list of ICE contacts directly from the "locked" screen.