This is farking brilliant. I'm not sure how widespread this is, but they've started doing this in Calgary. Paramedics are requesting that cell phone owners create a special contact in their phone's address book named ICE, which stands for In Case of Emergency. According to Calgary paramedic Ben Morgan;
Behind that contact name you would have listed all of the numbers that you would want called in case of an emergency. So perhaps your spouse, your brother, your sister, your next of kin, perhaps a son.
Morgan also recommends you put a period in front of the ICE name, so that it will appear at the top of the address list. (Punctuation comes before letters in the alphabetic listing). I'm betting it would fairly straightforward to work into that listing any medical information it would be important for paramedics to have in an emergency as well. Given how ubiquitous cell phone usage is these days, this seems like a more sophisticated version of the old Medic-Alert bracelet, but even more useful as it would quickly allow emergency personnel to notify those who need to know you've had an accident.
Given that it takes next to no effort, and no cost, it seems this ICE program should be universally adopted just as quickly as possible. I'm going to check with the RCMP and Emergency Services in my town on this first thing tomorrow (today's a Civic holiday in Canada) and I strongly suggest all of you do the same.
All it takes is creating awareness, both for cops and users, as everything else is already in place. Since the blogosphere specialises in the rapid, viral spread of information, I'd like to ask that anyone who reads this, post about it on their blog, (feel free to link back here - I'd like to see where this goes) and makes a call their police/Emergency Services to see if they're aware of it and will implement it. As I find out more about it, i'll try to post some links you could send to your Emergency Services people about its use.
Seems like a total win/win idea to me.
** UPDATE: (August 1, 4:45 p.m.)
After looking around a little, it turns out this idea is catching on all over the world. It has received a real boost since the bombing in London, during which it was so difficult to find contacts for so many of the unfortunate victims. The idea was originated by a UK paramedic named Bob Brotchie back in April. He has a few instructions for how to do this properly.
"The advice," Brotchie says, "is that you first agree with that person that they be that contact, so they're aware of it. They must (be able to) confirm your date of birth, your name, preferably your address. Hopefully, things such as allergies, blood type, any previous medical history that may be relevant, and then we can get that information to the hospital, perhaps before we leave the scene of an accident, and that will expedite treatment. The hope is that the next-of-kin contact can meet us at the hospital at the same time and the treatment will be as rapid as it could possibly be."
The blog in that last link has a good idea. Why not print out a copy of the Washington Post article, or the one from CBS, and send or drop it off to your local Chief of Police?