New app could provide vital patient information to EMS providers

Vital ICE is an application that stores important information like contact numbers, lists of prescription medications, blood type and healthcare conditions

By Jason Jordan
The Evening Tribune

HORNELL, N.Y. — "The old must, the young may."

As a young man coming up in the funeral home business, Jerry Brown of Bender-Brown and Powers in Hornell carried those words of wisdom his father dispensed about death with him for many years to come.

After 50 years in the business, Brown is now teaching his friends, neighbors and clients about lifesaving measures that could stave off an end that must, or may come.

Several months ago, the funeral home was notified of a new service that assists local first responders in locating vital health and wellness information that could save lives.

Vital ICE (In case of Emergency), is a mobile phone based application that stores important information like contact numbers, lists of prescription medications, blood type and your current healthcare conditions on your phone.

"Vital ICE is the premier In Case of Emergency app that helps save lives. Free for download, this public safety app locally stores user medical information, emergency contacts and more, and can be easily accessed by EMS and first responders in situations where the user is unable to speak or is otherwise incapacitated," the company explained in a statement.

For those who don't have phones, information can be posted on a refrigerator magnet.

According to Brown, the app is well suited to places like Hornell.

"We're a small community that relies heavily on volunteer people, especially first responders," he said. "I thought this would be a good way to give them an extra hand, and for people who live alone, it must be a stressful situation wondering 'What happens if? ..."

If someone's injury or illness is too severe to pass along that vital information, a life can be lost.

"I've seen instances where first responders didn't get there in time, either because they weren't summoned fast enough, the address is wrong, or they aren't aware of the people's illnesses," he said, recalling seeing recently deceased people clutching their phones, waiting for help that came too late, or not at all.

In the app, users can also access a one-touch emergency alert.

When first responders arrive to a home where Vital ICE is used, they will be alerted by emblems posted on a window or doorway, and will know where to find the information—either on the refrigerator or in the app.

As a community partner, staff from Bender-Brown and Powers will visit senior centers to help them download the app, or to print out information to post on their refrigerator. They also hope to partner with public housing providers to reach people who may be living alone.

"If it saves one life, then it's well worth the effort we put forward," Brown said.

The app is suggested for people regardless of age, and is available for download in Apple App Store or Google Play by entering the code #2341.

Copyright 2018 The Evening Tribune

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