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University Hospital emergency room nurses urge public to add ICE to cell phones

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — With winter weather on its way along with the threat of hazardous driving conditions, emergency room nurses at University Hospital are urging the public to add some ICE to their cell phones.

ICE stands for In Case of Emergency, a program that enables first responders to identify victims and contact family members to obtain important medical information. This is especially helpful when the victim is unconscious or unable to communicate.

The idea behind ICE is that cell phone users should include emergency contact information in their cell phone address book under the heading "ICE," giving emergency responders a standard place to look for such information.

"There are occasions when a patient comes to the emergency room without any identifying information," said Glenda Nabewaniec, charge nurse for the emergency department. "ICE would enable emergency crews to contact someone who can help identify the victim at the accident scene, before they arrive at the emergency room."

University Hospital's Emergency Room will distribute pamphlets throughout the winter months about how ICE works and how cell phone users can ICE to their address books.

Nabewaniec said the prevalence of cell phones today make them especially useful for emergency communications, like ICE.