Something could happen in a split second. You might take your eyes off the road for an instant and – BAM – before you know it, you’re being whisked out of your car and off to a nearby hospital.
Well, that escalated quickly.
Let’s take a step back. I assume you’re a safe driver and you hit the roads free of distractions. After all, eating a burrito behind the wheel never works out that well (since, in my case, more cheese inevitably ends up on my lap than in my mouth). But we’re all human, so those distractions do present themselves – often unexpectedly.
That greasy burrito wrapper wouldn’t be of much help to a first responder, but a well-prepared In Case of Emergency (I.C.E.) notice might – and it could save your life if you’re unable to communicate who you are or what kind of treatment you need.
I suspect you might already have certain family or friends labeled as “I.C.E.” in your phone’s contacts or stored in an app (like ICE Standard for iPhone or ICE for Android). That’s great – as long as it’s unlocked! If you absolutely must keep your device password protected, you may want to make a special background that displays your I.C.E. information while it’s in secure mode. Or there’s always this easy route: stick a label with your contact numbers on the back of the phone.
If you’re like me and have medical conditions that could affect your treatment or require immediate attention, you’ll probably want to take your plan beyond compiling a few I.C.E. contacts. I store my detailed (but relevant) medical information in my phone’s notes app, and also keep printed copies in my wallet and clipped to the inside of my car’s sun visor. Be sure it’s folded into a small size and kept away from prying eyes, but labeled well enough to be noticed by a first responder (mine says “PLEASE READ IN CASE OF EMERGENCY” in a bold, red font). Your I.C.E. contacts should have a copy of this, too.
It’ll only take a few minutes to compile your I.C.E. information, but minutes – even seconds – are precious in the event you’re in an accident. Here’s what I’d suggest including on your exhaustive list:
- Blood type
- Allergies or sensitivities (i.e., penicillin)
- Pre-existing conditions that could affect your treatment (i.e., diabetes)
- Current medications, including dosage and instructions (i.e., Lisinopril 10 mg daily)
- Personal description
- Hair color
- Eye color
- Identifying marks (i.e., birthmarks, tattoos)
- Preferred hospital system
I’ve just covered the basics, but you may choose to include more – like dietary restrictions or religious beliefs – on your I.C.E. notice.
Do you have any tips for drivers that may help first responders in the event of a car accident? Share them with us – and put down that phone, mascara wand, or juicy burger while behind the wheel!