In Case of Emergency (ICE) Campaign Email

Email forward advises you to store the word “I C E” in your mobile phone book along with the number of the person you wish to be contacted in case of emergency



East Anglian Ambulance Service have launched a national “In case of Emergency (ICE)” campaign with the support of Falklands war hero Simon Weston and in association with Vodafone’s annual life savers award.

The idea is that you store the word “I C E” in your mobile phone address book, and against it enter the number of the person you would want to be contacted “In Case of Emergency”. In an emergency situation ambulance and hospital staff will then be able to quickly find out who your next of kin are and be able to contact them. It’s so simple that everyone can do it.

Please will you also email this to everybody in your address book, it won’t take too many ‘forwards’ before everybody will know about this. It really could help the emergency services in doing their job. For more than one contact name ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 etc.

Detailed Analysis:
This message, which circulated via email as well as online forums and blogs, rapidly gained momentum in the wake of the London terrorist bombings of July 2005.

Information in the message is valid. Back in 2005, an article on the East Anglian Ambulance Service website offered more information about the ICE campaign. In April 2005, clinical team leader Bob Brotchie, launched the UK based ICE campaign with support from Vodafone.

At the time, the East Anglian Ambulance Service article stated that:

By entering the acronym ICE – for In Case of Emergency – into the mobile’s phone book, users can log the name and number of someone who should be contacted in an emergency.

The idea follows research carried out by Vodafone that shows more than 75 per cent of people carry no details of who they would like telephoned following a serious accident.

After its initial launch, the campaign generated interest, not only in the UK, but in other regions as well, including the United States and Australia. However, interest in the campaign appears to have waned somewhat in the years since. A UK based website built specifically to promote the campaign is no longer online.

In a strange twist, malicious pranksters apparently attempted to sabotage the ICE campaign by circulating nonsensical email rumours that ICE was actually a type of mobile phone virus. These rumours are completely false and should be ignored. An example of one of these hoax emails is included below:

Latest Mobile Phone Scam

I have just received information from [Name of company removed] that there is a new mobile phone scam concerning Pay as You Go (PAYG) Mobiles.

The scam is that you are asked to set up an “In Case of Emergency (ICE) Account” on your PAYG mobile.

Apparently this is a modular system that searches for the word ICE text and then changes your phones setting and takes any PAYG credit left on your phone.

Please ensure that this information is circulated to all staff and please pass on to family and friends

Then, some years of the UK launch, an Australian version of the ICE campaign email began circulating that purported to be from the Ambulance Service of NSW. However, the Service subsequently published a statement denying any responsibility for the ICE campaign email. The Ambulance Service of NSW suggests that, while the ICE concept has merit, it has not launched any campaign supporting ICE.