In Comments, MorningGlory asked about “ICE” numbers.
This was the subject of an e-mail that went around sometime ago. The gist of the whole thing was that anyone with a cell phone should add a number to their cell phone address book under the acronym “ICE” — In Case of Emergency — so that Emergency-type personnel looking through your cell phone after things have done gone all pear-shaped would have a good number to call.
MorningGlory is curious as to whether this e-mail is an urban myth, or if Emergency personnel do call the ICE numbers.
My answer is two-fold: Given the amount of people who received the ICE e-mail, it’s a pretty good bet that any EMS folks who weren’t looking for an ICE number before — are now.
The second part involves a bit of an anecdote.
I received that e-mail forwarded by another officer who happened to be in the office with me when I opened my e-mail account. I read the e-mail, paused for a second, turned and asked, “Didn’t you tell me once that it’s best to keep your cell phone keypad locked?”
“Yes,” answers he, “If someone steals my cell, I don’t want them to be able to access all that personal information.”
“Huh,” sez I, and returned to vetting my e-mail. A couple of minutes later, I hear quiet beeping behind me. Without turning around, I ask: “Unlocking your keypad, or removing the ICE number?”
“Oh, be quiet,” responds he.
ICE numbers are great — if you leave your phone unlocked.
If you leave your phone unlocked so as to allow access by strangers in the event of an emergency, all of your personal information is accessible to any critters with sticky fingers and a loose interpretation of property rights.
Personally, I find the best idea is to grab a blank business card, write the name and number of your emergency contact on it, laminate it, and put it in your wallet or purse behind your drivers license — or just put it in a pocket. Those are the first places emergency types look for ID anyway.
As always, your mileage may vary.