by Sandy Berger
No matter what type of tragedy befalls you during the day, your all-purpose mobile phone can save your life. All you need is a little preparation.
These days, a mobile phone has replaced the venerable medical I.D. bracelet. Emergency personnel like paramedics, doctors and nurses are trained to look for “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) information. In addition to allergies, medical conditions and emergency contacts, your smartphone can hold a wealth of vital medical information.
If you have a phone that anyone can open, you can list your ICE contacts in your address book. Just use the word ICE in caps and add the name and of your contact in an emergency. If you have more than one contact you’d like notified, just list them as ICE-2 and ICE-3. You can also use this method to list health concerns and/or medications.
Problems arise, however, if your phone is locked by a fingerprint or a numerical code. Apple has initiated a great system to handle this situation, but you have to set it up manually on your iPhone. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to do. Just open the pre-installed Health app and tap “Medical ID.”
It you’ve never set this up before, don’t worry. All you’ll need to do is follow the easy directions. Before you know it, your phone will be loaded with personal information like health conditions, allergies, medications, medical contacts and even things like blood type and additional medical notes. It also gives you the ability to sign up for the organ donation program.
When setting this up, be sure to turn on the “Show When Locked” option so the word “emergency” will pop up for anyone trying to open the phone without the proper credentials. In this way, an emergency response individual will have access to your Medical ID.
Setting up ICE information on an Android phone can be a bit more complicated. Check out the settings to see if you have an emergency contact feature. If you don’t find one, you can use an app for adding ICE info. You’ll want to look for one that has a widget that’s accessible from the lock screen. The free Medical ID – ICE by Laurent Pellegrino Medical works quite well.
There’s also one other quick and easy way to add ICE information to your smartphone. I know it’s a bit old-fashioned, but adding a sticker or label with your necessary medical information and ICE contact information still works quite well. If you have a label maker that takes plastic strips, you can use it for the information. If not, a sticky piece of clear plastic over the paper you use will help keep the info fresh and readable.
No matter what you do, make sure your medical intel is easy to access by responding medical personnel. Prepping your mobile phone can make the difference between life and death.
Sandy began her career as a computer programmer and over the years has become a trusted authority on a variety of tech, gadgets and gizmos. A regular on TV, radio and podcasts, Sandy speaks at tech events around the world.