First published 2013. Updated 2023

A couple of reports earlier this year have found that a) we are normally never more than six foot away from our mobiles and also that we suffer withdrawal symptoms if we are parted from it for too long.

Whilst this smacks of a Society that is increasingly dependent upon, nay, addicted to mobile ‘phones, it does have an advantage in that should you be unexpectedly knocked unconscious, the Emergency Services can get hold of someone to call – ‘Mum’, ‘Dad’, ‘Aunty Maude’ for example. Brilliant.

Whoah, hang on a minute. “I’ve password protected my phone”, “I’m an orphan and my parents never had any siblings”. OK, the latter is rare, but with concerns about privacy, the former should be adopted by one and all.

Quick aside. Have you switched on tracking on your Apple device? Cool, huh. If it gets nicked, you can track it, lock it and wipe it. That’ll teach them. No it won’t unless you have also password protected the whole device. Otherwise, savvy thieves will go straight to ‘settings’ and turn tracking off. IPad lost forever. If you haven’t password protected your Apple Device, do it now. It’s not foolproof, by the way, but a lot better than an unprotected device.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Dialling for help. Here’s some stuff that you should know.

1.  ICE (In Case of Emergency). (yes, that’s how it looked in those days!)

Dreamt up by a Paramedic, it’s amazingly simple. Pick someone that you want to be contacted if you have an emergency and are incapable of communicating your wishes. In your ‘phone address book, create a new contact with the name “ICE”. Add the existing contact details to the ICE contact. More than one Contact – use ICE2, ICE3 etc.

Do it. Now.

Update 2023: Most Smartphones have a dedicated ‘ICE’ setting.

2. Getting around Phone locks. ICE is all well and good, but what if you lock your ‘phone? Luckily Manufacturers are cottoning on. Here are some developments that I am aware of. Feel free to add to the list.

  • Many device manufacturers have provided a mechanism to specify some text to be displayed while the mobile is in the locked state.
  • Some devices let the owner of the phone specify their “In Case of Emergency” contact and also a “Lost and Found” contact.
  • IPhone.  You can download apps that can create a iPhone lock screen with emergency details, e.g. “Emergency Info Screen” app
  • IPhone with Siri. Siri works even if the ‘phone is locked. Press and hold the button to activate Siri, then say “Siri. Call ICE”
  • Galaxy S3. When the screen is locked there is the option to make an emergency call. If you press that the key pad comes up so you can dial 999. On the bottom left is an icon that looks like a person with a light bulb. If you press this it shows you the group of people who you have assigned as your ICE contacts (SG on Facebook – thanks. Contact me if you want a full credit)
  • Galaxy S3 (again) You can go into settings-lock screen-user information and type in a message there. I now have my name and emergency contract number scroll across the screen when it’s locked! (SG again)
  • Nokia & Windows. This would work for all others as well. TYPE “ICE” plus your number into a Word Processor. Photograph it. Set the photograph as your screensaver.

That’s my list so far. If you can come up with any others, do let me know. Update 2023 – phones are much more advanced and there are plenty of settings for personal information – contacts, medical, allergies etc. Check them out. All are accessible, even if the mobile is locked.

Leave a Comment