ICE (In Case of Emergency) Is “NOT” just for the patients!

by on September 9, 2009

in EMS Tips, Firefighting, Health and Wellness, Students

Guest contributor Tim Green explains in this post the importance of documenting medical history of you and your family well before an emergency happens. Tim Green is a former EMS Service Director with over 30 years experience as a firefighter/paramedic. Tim is now CEO of EMS Options, LLC, dedicated to helping people prepare for emergency events. Read more about Tim’s response to his own family emergency and why he advocates we all take the time to be prepared for an inevitable family tragedy.


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As you know, “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) is a critical concept that enables EMS personnel, such as yourself, to identify victims, contact next of kin, guardians or other entrusted persons to obtain important medical information or make emergency notifications. Well, I am here to tell you that it is “NOT” just for patients, “IT IS FOR EMERGENCY RESPONDERS TOO!”

After retiring with over 30 years in Fire/EMS, I was confronted with a situation where my wife arrested at home as a result of a subarachnoid bleed. I witnessed it and due to my professional training, I was able to start the chain of survival with my daughter’s help. After a quick response from a deputy and his AED, we were able to convert v-fib to a regular rhythm and the EMS crew helped get her to the hospital alive. (After surgery and a long hospitalization, she is now alive and recovering well at home, working hard to get back to a normal life!)

I kicked into a professional mode (just like you would have) that morning and I was doing fine until I was asked to detail her medical history, medications, doses, surgeries and past hospitalizations. I did alright, but it left me thinking that my family and I should have been better prepared for this type of event, just as I have recommended to my patients.

The point of my story is…. Unfortunately, this will happen to some of you! Being an EMS responder does not shield you from the things that you see every day, we are part of this human race, whether we believe it or not! We need to lead, by example and take our own advice to be prepared for the unknown.

My TIP’s for you:
1. ACCEPT THE FACT THAT YOU ARE HUMAN…it really feels pretty good!

2. Prepare yourself and your loved ones for that unforeseen medical event, putting ICE numbers in your cell phones and if you have a smart-phone, download a smart-ICEtm type application that will allow you to put in more than just the telephone numbers.

3. Get “ICE” cards that you can carry in your wallet or purse for all of your family members and fill them out. (Even if you put it in your cell phone….THINK REDUNDANCY!)

4. Print out a detailed list of pertinent medical information for your family members and keep it with you at all times! (Run sheets are excellent for this, or go to http://www.ice4safety.com/smart.html for free ICE cards and DIY “Do it yourself” tools.)

5. Finally, share this message with other EMS Responders; they might not be aware of the “ICE” concept, or think it could happen to them!

I know the old saying… “I always put my patient’s first”, but you can’t help them if you aren’t prepared yourself. Embrace the “ICE” concept and it will help minimize the confusion in a personal traumatic event and allow you to focus on the more important things….like saving lives!

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Tim Green is a former EMS Service Director with over 30 years experience as a firefighter/paramedic and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy (NFA) EMS Leadership, Advanced Leadership Issues and Command and Control of Fire Department Operations Courses. He has an associate degree in Fire Sciences and Emergency Medical Services and has completed multiple leadership courses at the Ohio Fire Academy and the Ohio State University, Management Series. Since retiring he has become involved in building a high performance EMS transport billing company. Tim is now CEO of EMS Options, LLC, dedicated to helping people prepare for emergency events. Find out more at www.ems-options.com and http://www.ice4safety.com/smart.html.


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  • http://www.ice4safety.com Mark Balduzzi

    Let me just say thank you Tim for mentioning a topic sometimes glossed over by the public safety community – taking care of the responder!

    We often hear in jest about the plumber with faulty plumbing or the electrician with bad house wiring for the same reason – they are too busy providing great service to others.

    In this rapidly changing world where events can unfold rapidly and place responders in harm’s way for extended periods of time, it is good to know that responders and their families can benefit from the very same preparedness tools in use by the communities they serve.

    Confident that your family has attained a level of preparedness for when you cannot be there can provide additional “piece of mind” when you need to keep your focus on the critical tasks at hand.

    Thank you Tim for “giving back” with your work at EMS-Options.

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