Keep your cellphone on ICE?

A campaign to encourage Israelis to put details of their relatives in their cell phones is being considered by MDA.

A campaign to encourage Israelis to put details of their next of kin in their cellular phone address book is being considered by Magen David Adom so it can more easily identify individuals in the event of an accident or other catastrophe. Following the terror attack disaster in London a few months ago, the ambulance service there has launched a national "In case of Emergency (ICE)" worldwide campaign. The idea is that you store the word "ICE" in your mobile phone address book with the number of the person you would want to be contacted. Paramedics in Britain and a number of other countries have already begun to routinely check a victim's cellphone for clues to that person's identity. In an emergency situation, ambulance and hospital staff are then able to quickly find out who the patient's next of kin is and contact them. MDA spokesman Yeruham Mandola said that the ICE idea was raised a few weeks ago by Dr. Pinhas Halperin, an emergency medicine specialist at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. "We are considering the possibility of doing this, either by promoting the insertion of ICE (or its Hebrew equivalent, bemikrei herum), or distributing emergency bracelets." However, bracelets cost money, and people are unlikely to want to wear them. He added that knowing patients' and victims' identities in the Versailles wedding-hall collapse in Jerusalem in 2001 would have saved a lot of trouble. MDA will decide on the campaign in the near future, said Mandola. All MDA staff and volunteers would then be trained to search cellphone directories for such an emergency listing. In any case, there is nothing to stop people from inserting an entry in the cellphone contacts list whenever they like.