If medical personnel are able to access your medical history during an emergency, it could mean the difference between life and death. But if, for example, you are injured, in shock, suffering from dementia, or are otherwise incapacitated, you may not be able to provide that information yourself.
There are several systems readily available to help make crucial contact and medical history information available to first responders.
Consider taking the time to update your details with the following free tools:
Emergency Contacts on Your Smartphone
Even when your smartphone is locked, you have options for inputting your emergency contacts as well as other vital information that could help save your life.
Medical ID for iPhones
If you are an iPhone user, take advantage of the preinstalled Health app to input details about your medical needs. This ensures that first responders will have the information they need. To do this, open the Health app, choose Review Medical ID, and enter your information.
You can also include your birthdate, any medical conditions or allergies, your blood type, and your organ donor status. You can then choose to make your Medical ID available on your iPhone’s lock screen for first responders.
In addition, there is an option to share your Medical ID information automatically with a dispatcher.
Emergency Information on Androids Devices
Depending on your device, you may be able to find “Emergency Information” or “My Info” in your Settings. This is where you can enter your medical details and emergency contacts. Be sure to add anyone you wish to designate as an emergency contact into your Contacts app as well.
In your Android Settings, you can also add your emergency contact information to your lock screen as a custom message.
In Case of Emergency (ICE) Contact
This program, which was originally established in 2004, encouraged people to list in their cell phone their “in case of emergency” contacts under the heading “ICE.” This allows paramedics or other medical personnel to know whom to contact. Today, there is also a free ICE app for smartphones. This app allows you to send an instant message, including your GPS location, directly to your ICE contacts with the tap of a button if you are in an emergency situation.
The National Next of Kin Registry (NOKR)
The NOKR is a free service that allows you to register yourself and your next of kin. The information you enter is not available to the public, but it is available to emergency service agencies registered with the NOKR. If you are in an accident, emergency services personnel would be able to search the website to find your next of kin and notify them about your condition. The NOKR stores emergency contact information for those across the U.S. as well as 87 other countries. You can register online, through U.S. mail, or via fax.
To get the most out of an emergency contact, you should make sure the person you choose as your emergency contact has agreed to act in this capacity, knows about any allergies or other factors that could affect your treatment, and knows whom to contact on your behalf.
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Kevin Snyder is a husband, father, and an Orange County estate planning attorney and elder law attorney at Snyder Law, PC in Irvine, California. He's all about family and passionate about estate planning, elder law, and veterans. He founded Snyder Law to help people be prepared and have the peace of mind they are protecting their families and aging parents for when life happens.