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Gallagher Advises Floridians to Designate Emergency Contacts on Cell Phones

8/25/2005

CONTACT:
Tami Torres or Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE—As Floridians brace for another possible hurricane strike, Florida's Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Tom Gallagher is urging residents to identify emergency contacts on their cell phones.
 
As State Fire Marshal, Gallagher oversees the State Fire Marshal's Office and search and rescue functions at Florida's Emergency Operations Center.  He is recommending cell phone users put the acronym ICE, an abbreviation for "in case of emergency," before the names of people they want to be contacted on their behalf in an emergency.  The idea was developed by a British paramedic, and the idea is spreading across the nation.
 
"This simple step could help emergency workers ensure you get proper medical care and at the same time quickly connect you with your family in an emergency," said Gallagher. 
An ICE entry could look like this: "ICE – Ann," or "ICE – Mom." Gallagher said you could also designate the order by entering ICE 1, ICE 2 and so on.
 
This could save paramedics, police and firefighters valuable time trying to figure out which name in a cell phone to call.  First responders have reported calling an elderly parent who was not well and should not have received such a call.
 
Forecasters say Tropical Storm Katrina could become a hurricane today and is expected to move slowly across the Florida peninsula.  In addition to strong winds, Katrina is expected to dump a lot of rain.
 
For hurricane preparation tips, visit the Department of Financial Services' web site at www.fldfs.com.  For assistance after the storm, call the department's storm helpline at 1-800-22-STORM.
 
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As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. Gallagher also serves as the State Fire Marshal.