Rescuers’ efforts to notify next of kin made easier thanks to new UN code

23 July 2008

Next-of-kin information for injured people will now be easier to find thanks to a new telephone code from the United Nations telecommunications agency.

By adding prefixes such as “01,” “02” and “03” before contacts – for example, “01husband” – in a person’s mobile telephone directory, rescuers will be able to notify relatives or friends worldwide.

“This simple addition to a person’s next-of-kin or nominated contact details has the potential to greatly reduce stress for overworked emergency workers around the world,” said Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. “Anything that can be done to reduce the workload of these remarkably brave people and assist in getting injured people the right care and attention is commendable.”

The code “ICE” – short for “In Case of Emergency” – has appeared in some mobile phones in English-speaking nations, but ITU members stressed the need for a global unified standard that would be effective regardless of language or script.


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