Backpacking on the South West Coast Path in Cornwall at a rocky Gurnards Head

In Case Of Emergency: ICE

Pinterest Collage: In Case Of Emergency, A Quick Guide For Hikers

Who Are You Going To Call?

More to the point, who are the paramedics going to call in a case of emergency if you’re out cold?

Your hiking mates can tell them your name (hopefully!), but they might’ve forgotten you’ve got a metal plate in your arm and you’re allergic to Penicillin, and absolutely no clue who your next of kin is – or any way of finding out.

Emergency information can be easily overlooked when we put our first aid kits together – most of us shove a few plasters in our rucksacks and hope we don’t need them (and if that’s you, you need to read this post on what should be in your personal first aid kit!), but emergency medical and contact information is just as important for any walk or hike.


Way back in 2004 a British paramedic had a simple idea: highlight any emergency contacts on your phone by assigning them with 3 letters: ICE, short for In Case of Emergency, so that medical staff would know who to contact in an emergency situation.

These days you can easily add vital medical information too and make it available to first-responders even when your phone’s locked, which might save your life in an emergency.

Is Your Phone Password Protected?

Yes? Then you need to set up your ICE details asap! There are several ways to do it, whether you use the standard features on your phone or download a specific ICE app (which often have additional features). Here’s how to do it using your phone’s standard feature:

ICE on Android


1. Open the Settings, then tap Users


2. Make sure your username is highlighted then tap Emergency Information


3. Fill in your details. Sorted!

Screenshot of In Case of Emergency screen on Android. Copyright Stephanie Boon, 2018


ICE on iPhone

To add your emergency details on an iPhone open the Health app, tap Medical ID and edit your details.

The Apple Support pages take you through the whole process.

What Will The First Responder See?

Black and white Emergency Button and fingerprint on android Lock Screen.

On both android and iPhone the first responder will see an ‘Emergency’ link on the Lock Screen. When the link is tapped it opens the dial pad so they can make an emergency call and there’s an adjacent link to tap which will bring up the emergency information you entered (all the other stuff on your phone remains password protected).


What If My Phone Battery’s Dead?

There you are wandering along looking down at your phone (when you should have been looking at your feet!) when you trip spectacularly and fall. You say goodbye to your phone as it flies over the cliff and you drift off into unconsciousness; when you come round you have complete amnesia…

Ok, it’s more likely that your battery’s just dead or you’ve got no signal, but it still leaves the paramedic with a big question: who are you?

In Case Of Emergency – What’s In Your Wallet?

Your Free Emergency Card Template

Make sure you have your emergency details in your wallet as well as on your phone, because you never know when your phone might fail.

It’s quick and easy to put together an emergency information card that can live in your wallet with your bank cards. Especially with my free pdf template!

So, print off the pdf, fill it in, laminate it and put it in your wallet before your next hike!



In Case Of Emergency wallet card template.

Stay Safe

To sum up, fill in the ICE contacts on your phone, make sure your details are also in your wallet and don’t forget to keep your first aid pack stocked up, because a few minutes preparation now could save a lot of precious time during an emergency situation!

You can find out more about staying safe when you’re hiking here: The Guide To Wild Camping and Bivvy Camping For Beginners Part 3: Bivvy Camping Safety.

Opened First Aid Kit, showing scissors, glove, dressing, etc

Check out what should be in your outdoor first aid kit

Happy Hiking!

Stephie x


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