Monday, 22 August 2011

I.C.E. / CRASH Cards...

It occurred to me, while watching a clip on youtube (of collisions caught on video), that many of us out there don't carry any form of emergency identification at all.

Even bike riders, for pities sake.

So, in the hope that this might actually help someone someday, a few ideas...

I have a pair of ID discs that I always wear; they're modelled on my old Army ID Discs, they've got the "big 6" on them (Surname, Initials, Service Number, Date of birth, Blood Group, and Religion), and there's an extra disc, red in colour, that says "HEART ATTACK RCA", to give the hint to anyone providing emergency medical help to me that I've had a heart attack in the past.

In my wallet, I also have what I call an ICE card, or "In Case of Emergency" card, printed on high-visibility yellow card, briefly detailing my personal details, who to call in the event of emergency, who my General Practitioner (Doctor) is, and what medications I'm prescribed.

I found a website a while back that allows you to fill in an online form, and print out your own ICE card. here's the link. They assure you that they do not record anything you put there; the details you enter are used to produce the image that you then print out, fold, laminate, and carry with you. Or, you could do what I did, and make your own design up. As long as it's got the details outlined in the online generator, you're on the right track. And don't forget your ten-digit NHS and nine-digit National Insurance numbers, while you're at it!

There are, of course, many, many, many other ways of carrying this information around with you.

Existing ones, that have been around for a while, include medical alert style jewellery, such as necklaces, bracelets, bands, and so on. There are a few retailers of this stuff online, and a simple google search will find them. Remember to use google UK, and specify UK results, so that you get results that have a chance of being useful over here in Great Britain; American resources, while obviously very useful over there, might omit certain details that British medics need (and vice verse, if you're an American, search, and specifiy US results, and so on, for whatever counrty you live in).

An innovative one is ZAP tag (click for link); tied into your Doctor's records on you, the card incorporates a small USB storage device, which can be synchronised with the secured online files held with zaptag themselves; the hiccup with this is that it requires a computer to access the files, of course. But that's the only drawback, as far as I can see.

Still, it's important that you carry at least one thing that lets the emergency services know who you are, and of any medical problems that you may have, such as allergies, and so on; a low-tech solution for all situations is, in my view, a better solution, so human-readable discs or tags around the neck, or a bracelet/band around the wrist, coupled with a crash or ICE card in the wallet, is the best bet.

And if you're thinking of sticking this very useful information onto your nice shiny phone, well, don't bother. The emergency services will take one look, see that you're password locked the damn thing, and carry on regardless - which COULD spell disaster.

So go low-tech.

Cards, tags, bands, whatever, but carry at least ONE thing to let them help you is you're unable to communicate with the emergency services for whatever reason.

It may just help to save your life.

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