October 2023

DEC Bulletin

In Case of Emergency (ICE) assists first responders if a victim is unable to provide emergency information—by utilizing the ubiquitous cell phones. The I.C.E. program was originally developed in 2004 in the United Kingdom by first responder Bob Brotchie and quickly spread into other countries. To program ICE into your cell phone:

· Access the address book feature of your cell phone.

· Enter the name ICE.

· Enter the phone number of your husband, wife, parent or whoever needs to know about you in case of an emergency. (No nicknames or position names)

For example: “ICE Joe Smith 214-555-xxxx.” (Out-of-area is probably a good idea—just like your family disaster planning.) Then, make sure Joe knows about being listed and has current info such as your allergy list, doctor’s name, whatever you think (!) is important. Alternately, a person can list multiple emergency contacts as "ICE1", "ICE2", etc. First responders or doctors will be able to look for this listing if a cell phone is found with an unresponsive victim.

ICE Cards for Kids:

Looking for a way to make disaster preparedness fun for kids? Do a computer search for “ICE Cards for Kids”. There are many hits on the subject. Some are cards that can be purchased, and others are templates that can be downloaded.

Make an ICE card with phone numbers of family and friends you can call in case of an emergency. Print the free cards at home, put one copy in your child’s bag, and keep another copy for yourself.

Disasters can strike when you least expect them. Plan to stay connected to those you love. Create your ICE card today!

STOP (Study, Think, Observe, Prepare) is a rubric being used by civil defense advocates (yes, the term is still in use in selected circles). Even if you sometimes juggle the order, consider how much ground that covers when you think about planning for your response to disasters. Study the background and developments of emergency planning for your community in depth. Think rather than just repeat the standard slogans. Observe actual and developing situation(s)—coming events often cast shadows before they arrive, including things you see that might become important to others. Prepare in advance to maximize efficiency and utility.

Maybe the little things that get done can set a thought pattern for larger involvements.

Social Media:

For the past few of years now I have turned to social media to keep up on the happenings with major events such as hurricanes, wildfires, etc. Social media has been the best way to get situation awareness, and to advise people on what to do, where to get help, and how to help. A lot of reporters use Twitter to give out real time information for incidents still in progress. An example during hurricanes Irene and Sandy - disaster relief agencies were telling people to “Text First, Talk Later”. In other words, use your cell phones and send your own health and welfare messages. Send only I-M-OK by text. Texting uses much less bandwidth and will not overload the circuits. After the recovery efforts have begun and the heavy traffic on the cell towers has subsided then make your phone calls. This will also help ARES® out by not having to handle the H&W traffic leaving us free to handle the FLASH, Immediate and Priority traffic for our served agencies. Our digital message modes do not have H&W categories anyway. Another option is that El Paso city/county, or police and sheriff’s department have a Facebook page. This is the best place to get information or updates. Another source of information for both preparation and current information are smart phones. There are App’s available for all the smart phones for just about any situation imaginable. Get these social media tools and technologies in your tool bags to improve your situational awareness.

The terms ARES® and Amateur Radio Emergency Service® is both registered trademarks of the American Radio Relay League, Inc. and are used by permission.

Lew Maxwell, KB5HPT

Amateur Radio Emergency Service

DEC, District 6, WTX Section


Email: kb5hpt@arrl.net