Mobile Emergency Contacts and MedicAlert Can Work Together to Keep you Safe in an Emergency

No one can predict when an emergency may happen, but you can be prepared. Things we use every day such as smartphones, along with companies like MedicAlert, make it easy to protect yourself when the unexpected happens.

Both can store ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts and your crucial medical information, making it easier for first responders to quickly identify the best treatment methods, contact your designated physician, and notify your loved ones. Your smartphone and medical ID can communicate with first responders when you can’t. 

Don’t choose one over the other - let MedicAlert and your smartphone work together to save your life in an emergency.

Why is it important to set up emergency contacts on my phone?

Emergency contacts are the first people first responders and emergency medical staff will reach out to in an emergency. Having designated ICE contacts set up on your phone is essential because these are the individuals who will have the authority to act on your behalf if you are unable to communicate with first responders and emergency medical staff. 

Emergency contacts are traditionally a partner or family members who are aware of your medical conditions, the types of medications you are taking, and any wishes related to your care. However, in some cases, you may have to choose a friend or other person as your contact. In these cases, it is important to let them know that they are your emergency contact and make sure that they are up for the job. 

According to publisher and legal website NOLO, when choosing an emergency contact, you should ensure that the person or persons:

  • Can communicate your situation to others as needed.
  • Has the legal power to act on your behalf.
  • Knows your medical history.
  • Understands and is willing to uphold your wishes for medical care.
  • Will be available when needed.

Choosing the right ICE contact and communicating with them about your health and wishes initially, and about any changes in your health as they happen, can be life-saving in an emergency.

How do I set up my emergency contacts on my phone?

Around 83.4% of people worldwide use smartphones and the vast majority of Americans—some 97%—own a cellphone of some kind. Of the nearly 100% of Americans that own cellphones, Pew Research Center reports that 85% own a smartphone. No matter what kind of cellphone you own, just about every one provides emergency functions that can help save your life in a medical or other emergency.

Currently, there are more than 235 brands that produce more than 8,000 smartphones. Of these, hundreds top the list of the most popular worldwide, so it would be impossible to list ICE contact set-up instructions for all here. However, what we can do is provide general set-up instructions and links to online instructions for several of the most widely used smartphone brands/phones. Many sites also have chat functions if you need help with set-up.

Note that all smartphones and other mobile devices provide quick and easy access to ICE contact set-up instructions through their user manuals (provided when you purchased the phone) and online. If you are searching for instructions online, simply enter the name of your phone + “emergency contact setup” into your favorite search engine. This will ensure that you have the right set-up instructions for your own individual phone.

Just a few of the world’s top smartphone brands (in order of popularity) include:

  • Samsung
  • Apple
  • Google Pixel

For Samsung Galaxy phones:

  • Swipe up on your phone’s screen to be taken to the Lock screen.
  • Tap Emergency Call.
  • Enter your desired number in the dial pad.
  • Your registered emergency contacts will appear at the top of the screen.

For Apple phones:

  • Open the Health app and tap your profile picture.
  • Tap Medical ID.
  • Tap Edit, then scroll to Emergency Contacts.
  • Tap the Add button  to add an emergency contact.
  • Tap a contact, then add their relationship.
  • Tap Done to save your changes.

For Google Pixel phones:

  • Open your phone’s Safety app.
  • If asked, sign in to your Google Account.
  • Tap Settings.
  • Tap Emergency Contacts.
  • Tap add contact.
  • Tap on the existing contact you would like to add.

Do I need a MedicAlert ID if there are emergency contacts in my phone?

Absolutely! Your medical ID and the ICE contacts in your phone provide added layers of protection in case of an emergency. While first responders are trained to work with many different types of cellphones, there are thousands on the market today, so it would be impossible to learn how to use them all. If a first responder doesn’t know how to unlock your phone or use the emergency function, your MedicAlert medical ID can provide all of the information needed about your medications and medical conditions in order to provide the fastest and safest treatment. 

A MedicAlert medical ID also includes your ICE contact information and designated physician information, making it easier for first responders and ER staff to reach out to someone who can communicate—when you can’t. Simply put, a MedicAlert ID can be your voice when you are unable to communicate critical information about your condition, medications, and treatment plan to first responders, doctors, and hospital staff in an emergency.

A MedicAlert medical ID can become an important part of your emergency plan, with or without a smartphone or other cellphone. But together, a MedicAlert ID and smartphone can provide multiple layers of protection in an emergency. Your smartphone has GPS to help first responders and ICE contacts find you if you are unable to relay the details of your location. If a good Samaritan finds you in a dire position, they can access the ICE contacts on your phone, dial 911, and/or relay any pertinent medical information that has been engraved on your MedicAlert ID to 911 operators and first responders. 

Add a MedicAlert protection plan, and your MedicAlert ID becomes even more valuable to your safety and care. A MedicAlert Advantage Plus protection plan provides:

  • A 24/7 emergency response team to relay vital information to first responders, ensuring safe and accurate care.
  • Designated physician and emergency contact notification. 
  • Digital health profile of all medications, treatment plans, adaptive devices, and other vital information – all in one place. 
  • Personal document storage.
  • Printable detailed profile for your medical appointments.

How do you become a MedicAlert member?

A MedicAlert ID and protection plan can be your voice when you are unable to communicate critical information about your condition, medications, and treatment plan to first responders, doctors, and hospital staff in an emergency. To become a MedicAlert member, visit our MedicAlert protection page and select a plan that’s right for you.

What should you engrave on a MedicAlert ID?

MedicAlert IDs come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. A MedicAlert ID can be a necklace, bracelet, wallet card, shoe tag, or smart medical ID card. The front of a MedicAlert ID features our emblem, which is recognized by first responders around the world. Our bracelets, necklaces, and other medical IDs can protect you 24/7 by relaying your vital medical information to healthcare professionals, ensuring accurate treatment during an emergency. 

All MedicAlert medical IDs feature free custom engraving or a QR code encrypted with your vital medical information. Engraving should include ICE contact information and any critical medical information that can help protect and save your life if you are in an accident or other medical emergency. In general, you should include the following on your MedicAlert medical ID:

  • Designated physician information. 
  • ICE contact information.
  • Medications.
  • Medical conditions.