ICE in case of emergency

I read an article by a UK paramedic some years back about having your significant other’s contact details in your mobile phone under ICE (“in case of emergency” as wiki explains) so that ambulance or hospital staff can contact them in the worst case scenario i.e. you can’t use your phone yourself. I have implemented this on *all* mobiles in our house.

But those of us (yes, my hand is up) who like readable, sensible names in their contacts pages for texts, emails etc, have a dilemna. Let’s face it, the person we contact most is going to be in our texts app as “ICE firstname lastname” and that’s – well – improvable, to put it politely.


So, here’s my workaround – have two contacts for each of the mobile and home numbers. “Firstname Lastname” has the regular name and regular number. Use the international format so that wherever you roam, it’s always the right number. Thus my darling wife’s mobile is in my contacts as “Firstname Lastname” and “+44 7777 123 456”

In addition I have created another contact called “ICEfirstname LastnameMOBILE” which has the number “+44 7777 123 456#” and yes, that last character is a hash. This means texts from “Firstname Lastname” will appear with a header that lacks the (ideally unseen imo) “ICE” prefix.

And of course the home number is both “+44 20 1234 5678” and “+44 20 1234 5678#” for the “ICEFirstname LastnameHOME” version. It’s no trouble for the carers to search for “ICE” in your phonebook, yet these contacts will not otherwise appear in your daily media exchanges.

If you omit the hashtag, then you’ll have two contacts with the same number. This doesn’t work at hiding the ICE version in normal daily use. Putting the hashtag in as a suffix allows the phone to consider the contacts as two separate entities, which for all us phonebook fusspot types, is just fine.


Courtesy of @JulesEmmaSun on twitter – text from her significant other comes in as “ICE – D…..” see what I mean?

*no real phone numbers have been used. I hope. I made them up. Sorry if they’re yours.


Subsequent twitter convos with @JCT_Woodpad and @JulesEmmaSun have suggested that the lock function on smartphones renders phonebook search by emergency staff as impossible. Thus having ICE numbers on the screensaver picture is the logical workaround.






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