The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is joining with rescue personnel in asking people to program on their cell phone’s address book “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) contacts as a way to easily reach a family member or emergency contact should an illness or accident render one unconscious. ASSE has distributed to thousands of its members ICE information including a PowerPoint® presentation describing how and why this can be done.

With more than 190 million people in the U.S. with cell phones and even more worldwide, ICE can help emergency personnel in quickly identifying an injured individual and their next of kin in minutes instead of hours, according to ASSE said.

Making ICE a common practice for cell phone users will help make it a routine measure for police, fire and other emergency personnel to check cell phones when necessary. ICE is free and only requires a cell phone to use it. Even when carrying personal identification (ID), such as a driver’s license, it is still recommended to use ICE, because an ID does not contain the names and phone numbers of next of kin, medical history or any other information that emergency personnel may need in assisting a patient, says ASSE.

Individuals can program a new contact in their cell phone address book with the letter’s ICE followed by the name and phone numbers of their emergency contacts. If adding more than one ICE contact, mark the primary contact as ICE1, such as ICE1-John Doe, ICE2-Jane Doe, and so on. These individuals should agree to be the ICE contact and they should be supplied with the individual’s family contacts, primary physician, work contact and also medical history, which should list allergies, current medication and previous medical procedures. Individuals under the age of 18 should list their guardian, mother or father as their ICE contact.