An older man living by himself grabs at his chest and stumbles toward the telephone. Struggling to maintain his composure, he is able to dial 911 and speak briefly with a dispatcher before he loses consciousness and crumbles to the floor. An ambulance arrives at his home shortly, but, because the man is unable to speak to the emergency medical technicians, they don’t know anything about his medical history, they have no idea what medications he has been taking and they don’t even know about friends or family members who should be contacted.
The EMTs, of course, do the best they can to save the man’s life, but his chances of surviving this medical emergency would have increased greatly if he had downloaded a cellphone application that is now readily available to people of all ages. Vital ICE (In Case of Emergency) is designed to provide first responders with vital information such as blood type, medications, allergies, medical history and emergency contact information.
“This free app enables people to store vital information on their phone in case there is a medical emergency,” said Buddy Ewing, managing partner of Seaside Memorial Park & Funeral Home in Corpus Christi, Texas, which is working to get out the word about the app to area residents. “It can list the medications a person is taking and his or her doctor. That information is available for first responders if you are injured and cannot communicate with them.”
Ewing pointed out that the app can be a useful tool for young people as well as for senior citizens. For example, a teenage driver who is involved in an automobile accident or whose car breaks down in a remote area can use the app to notify the authorities about his or her location.
Vital ICE, which is available in an iPhone or Android format, offers a number of key features:
- A database of your medical information
- Information on how to treat 16 common emergencies
- Contact information of friends and family members
- A "panic" button that contacts emergency services
- An email function for your medical data
- Access to notifications from local emergency medical services and fire departments
- Built-in backup features to store your data on Dropbox
- The ability to send text messages to notify emergency contacts about your location
- A custom wallpaper/lock screen image that displays critical medical details for first responders
- Photos of your insurance cards
- Reminders for scheduled medications, physician appointments and immunizations
Ewing pointed out that the more data that is loaded into Vital ICE, the more useful it will be.
“It’s only as good as the amount of information people put in there,” he commented.
Seaside Memorial Park & Funeral Home, Corpus Christi Funeral Home and Rose Hill Memorial Park are bringing Vital ICE to the Coastal Bend as a public service to the community. Once you download the app, either from the App store or Google Play, and accept the terms and conditions, enter the four-digit code 9411, which has been provided by Seaside Memorial Park, to enter your vital information. To learn more, call 361-992-9411 or visit vitalboards.com.