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In Case of Emergency: How to add ICE emergency contacts to your smartphone

What does ICE stand for in a cell phone? Does your smartphone allow you to specify ICE contacts that can be dialled even when the phone is password-locked? How can you add ICE emergency contacts to your cell phone?

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I had a conversation about how smartphones should be able to specify emergency contacts that can be dialled even when the phone is locked. It was then I found out that Samsung has that feature built into its smartphones. I was able to specify five emergency contacts (or ICE contacts) and all of them can be dialled without needing my phone password.

What does ICE stand for?

What does ICE stand for? How to add ICE emergency contacts to your Cell Phone

Let’s get started by answering the question, What does ICE stand for? ICE is an acronym for “In Case of Emergency”. It is a programme designed to enable first responders in an emergency – medics, police officers, firemen, et al – to contact the next of kin of the owner of a mobile phone.

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The idea is that if you are ever in a fix and unable to speak or act, anyone who comes to your aid should be able to find and call your next of kin. The ICE programme was conceived in the mid-2000s and promoted by British paramedic Bob Brotchie in May 2005. Here were his thoughts:

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“I was reflecting on some difficult calls I’ve attended, where people were unable to speak to me through injury or illness and we were unable to find out who they were. I discovered that many people, obviously, carry mobile phones and we were using them to discover who they were. It occurred to me that if we had a uniform approach to searching inside a mobile phone for an emergency contact then that would make it easier for everyone.”

I have multiple ICE contacts on my phone. Mrs. Mo is the primary one, but I also have a few other contacts, including police and fire service listed. Someone may need to call the fire service on my behalf one day, you know. Now, let us move on to how to add ICE emergency contacts to your mobile phone.

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How to Add ICE Emergency Contacts to Your Samsung Phone

If you use a Samsung smartphone, it supports emergency contacts. Here is how to set them up.

  1. Lock your phone, then push the power button to wake up the screen.
  2. Tap or slide a finger on the screen to bring up the unlock password field. Tap the “EMERGENCY CALL” under the password box to enter the Emergency call menu.
  3. Tap the plus icon and unlock the phone when you are prompted. Tap Okay.
  4. You are now on the “ICE – EMERGENCY CONTACTS” page and all your contacts are listed there. Use the green plus button behind each contact to select those you want to use as ICE.
  5. At the top of your contacts list on that same page is a special contact named “Emergency medical information”. Tap it to add any special medical info here, for example if you are diabetic or asthmatic, have an allergy or have a special blood need. When done, tap Save at the top of the screen.

That is it. From now on, anyone can access those ICE contacts you selected without unlocking your phone. All they have to do is push the power button to wake up your screen, and tap the emergency call button under the password box.

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How to Add ICE Emergency Contacts to itel Phone

I tried out the process on the itel P32 and found that the phone supports ICE emergency contacts too even when locked. The process of adding ICE is similar to that of Samsung and uit also has a field for entering medical information.

How to Add ICE Emergency Contacts to iPhone

  1. Open your iPhone’s Settings and tap Emergency SOS.
  2. Scroll down and tap SOS.
  3. Tap Set up Emergency Contacts in Health.
  4. Tap Create Medical ID.
  5. Check to be sure that the “Show When Locked” switch is green. You need your ICE contacts to be accessible even when the phone is locked, remember?
  6. Scroll down and tap Add emergency contact at the bottom of the screen.
  7. Tap the name of a contact you want to add as ICE. Specify a relationship when prompted. Tap a type of relationship e.g., mother, partner, etc. Repeat this for as many contacts as you want to add.
  8. Tap Done and that is it.
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ICE Support on your Phone

Not every smartphone has the option to add emergency contacts. In the case that yours does not have it, you can manually add them by editing the contacts you want to use and adding “ICE” in front of their names, e.g. “ICE Yomi Adegboye”. You can save multiple emergency contacts by listing them as ICE1, ICE2, ICE3, etc.

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Note that if your phone does not support the listing of emergency numbers, you need to leave it unlocked or nobody will be able to access those contacts in an emergency. However, there are 3rd party apps that you can use to add ICE emergency contacts and which provide easy access to those contacts, even when the phone is locked. Click HERE to see a list from Play Store.

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ICE emergency contacts

Locked Phones In Case of Emergency? Carry an ICE Card too

For security purposes, many mobile phone owners, like myself, lock their mobiles, requiring a password or passcode to be entered in order to access the device. This hinders the ability of first responders to access the ICE phone list entry.

For such users, it is not a bad idea to have an ICE card in your wallet or purse at all times. That would be a cardboard card with the heading as “ICE” that lists numbers you want called in an emergency, as well as any unique medical facts that rescuers and medics will find useful in attending to you in an emergency.

For example, if you are diabetic or hypertensive, your ICE card should state so. Put your ICE card in the same location as your ID card in your wallet. Effective.

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Carry An ICE Card Too

In addition to adding ICE contacts to your phone, it is also a good idea to put an ICE card in your wallet. The card should specify your emergency contacts and any special medical information. That way, you have two possible ways for first responders to help you out in an emergency.

Now you know what ICE stands for and how to add ICE emergency contacts to your cell phone. Do share this useful bit of information by using the sharing buttons below. If someone asks you, What does ICE stand for? you know it stands for “In Case of Emergency” can now enlighten them on how to use this nifty feature to save a life.

Whatever solution works for you, do get on the ICE programme. None of us looks forward to accidents and emergencies, but it is a fact of life that they happen, and an initiative of this sort might just make a huge difference whenever life throws its odd curveballs.

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