Be Prepared: Tips for Displaying Emergency Contact Information
Image: Pixabay
August 24, 2015

Your emergency contact information is a lot like your car insurance. You have it in case you need it, but you hope you'll never have to.

Should you have a medical emergency that keeps you from speaking, it's important to keep medical and contact information easily accessible for first responders. Even with the advent of technology, it's best to keep this information in various forms.

Important information includes:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Allergies and reactions
  • Medications
  • Medical conditions
  • Blood type
  • Height and weight
  • Emergency contacts
  • A current photo

Going Digital

In our cell phones is a wealth of information, but if you're trying to prevent others from accessing that information, you've enabled a passcode or other security feature. While this may keep criminals out of your phone, it also keeps first responders from accessing vital information that may help save your life, such as the medications you're taking or your blood type.

iPhone users have a built in emergency card that can be accessed from the lock screen. In your contacts, click on your name and click edit. From there, scroll all the way down to the bottom where you see "Edit Medical ID."

Here you can add all of pertinent medical information as well as designate contacts that can be called in case something happens. Make sure you enable the card to be shown when the phone is locked or all of your work is meaningless.

If you have to access someone's Medical ID on his or her iPhone, tap "emergency," which will bring up a keypad. On the lower left corner, click on Medical ID. There you should be able to access any medical and contact information that was stored. You can also call directly from the phone all the numbers that are listed.

Unfortunately, the equally popular Samsung Galaxy phones don't seem to have a similar feature (if we're wrong, please let us know so we can update this post.). There are, however, a few work arounds.

You can download an app that will store the information for you and display it on your lock screen, or you can edit your lock screen image to include a contact phone number.

Paper Backups

As we've established, your phone can carry a wealth of information. But that wealth of information is also useless if your phone is broken. Even if you take the time to fill out your Medical ID completely and make it accessible from your lock screen, none of that information means anything if the phone can't turn on.

Enter paper. Yes, paper. Keep the same information that's in your phone in your wallet and your car's glove compartment. To make the card a bit more durable, purchase self-adhesive laminating sheets from an office supply store. You'll have to create a new card if the information changes, but it will last longer than something that is unprotected.

You can print one for your wallet here.

Don't Forget Your Pets

If you live with a furry companion, it's important to ensure that they're taken care of should something happen to you. You can put the information on the card with your medical information, or print out a separate card to keep with you. One can be found here.

None of these methods are fool proof, but they can help emergency personnel contact your loved ones in the case of an emergency and see to it that you're treated with appropriate medical care.