In Case of Emergency


As Scouts and leaders, we all know that the motto of Scouting is “Be Prepared.” But just how prepared are we when an emergency strikes and we are alone or we come upon someone who is unable to communicate? The BSA has multiple safety programs within the BSA to keep our Scouts and Scouters safe, but let’s look at other ideas that can enhance that ability and be passed to our friends, families, and people outside of Scouting.


A movement started in 2004 to have mobile phone manufacturers create a common “In Case of Emergency” app. It actually took 10 years for this to occur. But now this cellphone app is credited with saving lives every day. Let’s look at some “In Case of Emergency” tips.

  • In your phone contacts, designate two or three individuals as “In Case of Emergency (ICE)” contacts. This is really simple to do. Open your contacts, select the person you want to identify as an emergency contact, and simply type ICE in front of their name. Note that if you lock your phone, others may not be able to access it to provide assistance to you.
  • Use your phone’s screen saver to identify emergency contacts. The ability to add text to your screen saver is part of the Android system. It takes some creativity with an iPhone as the text has to be added to the photo you are using before you set it as your locked screen.
  • For the iPhone, use the Medical ID app to set your ICE contacts.
    1. Open the app store and locate the Health App (comes standard on iPhones and is denoted by a white icon with a pink heart in the top right corner). You will see four options at the bottom: Dashboard, Health Data, Sources, and Medical ID. Tap Medical ID.
    2. From this page, you can add your birthday/age, known medical conditions, allergies and medications, spouse, mother’s and father’s phone numbers, blood type, whether you are an organ donor, and your approximate height.*
    3. To view Medical ID information on a locked iPhone: Slide right to access the unlock pattern/digits. Select Emergency from the bottom left corner. Select Medical ID from the bottom left corner. And voilà!—the ICE information appears!
  • To set up Medical ID on (most) Android phones:
    1. Open your contacts list. Tap Groups in the top right corner. There should be a group called “integrated groups” (for example, favorites, co-workers, etc.). Tap ICE – Emergency Contacts. Tap Add, and add up to four emergency contacts. You can import these from your existing contacts or you can add new ones.
    2. To view Medical ID information on a locked Android phone: Tap Backup Password. Tap Emergency Call. A touch pad for dialing 911 should appear, along with four circles with plus signs (+) in them. Click on each (+) and pick a contact from the pre-saved ICE group set.
  • Other apps that can be downloaded to provide emergency information are iMedAlert, MyID, and ICE: In Case of Emergency

* It is important to note that information included on Medical ID can be accessed by anyone who has your phone. Always be cautious when filling in your personal information for anything. Your medical information is private, and only information that may be useful or necessary in an emergency situation should be entered.