The ICE campaign allows law enforcement or emergency personnel to reach that all-important person in one's life in a matter of minutes.
ICE stands for "In Case of Emergency," and lets people register those numbers in their cell phone directory for easy access in case of an emergency.
"I first became aware of the ICE campaign through a gentleman named Tom Hester," said Portsmouth Police Chief Charles Horner. "He showed up at the Emergency Management Agency office when I was there with Kim Carver."
Horner said Hester explained to them he first received the information about the campaign from someone else.
"I read the information he gave us, and Kim did too, and we both agreed that this was an tremendous goal for not only law enforcement, and EMS, but other emergency response services, too," he said.
Horner said the ICE campaign originated in England through a paramedic or EMT who realized most people now own cell phones.
"In having those cell phones, sometimes it's imperative that we in law enforcement, emergency medical services and fire-fighting find emergency contacts as quickly as possible," he said. "Especially in a life-and-death situation."
Horner said his department, as well as EMA, are endorsing the campaign locally, and are asking people to contact the Portsmouth Police Department beginning March 1 to obtain stickers to place on their cellular phones, and if they would like, to obtain a sticker on their car.
He said the sticker "alerts emergency response personnel that that person is participating in ICE. So immediately, we know that we can pick up their cell phone in the event that they can't, and go to the directory and find the ICE name, and call that number, and know the person we are calling is the person that needs to be contacted in case of emergencies."
Horner said the campaign is not being utilized everywhere, but sees it spreading.
"And obviously, we want to be a part of that spreading the good news," he said.
Horner said people enter the number as they would any other name.
"Instead of putting a name, they put ICE and then the number of the person they want contacted first," he said. "And if you want more than one, you can put ICE 1, ICE 2, ICE 3, and put the telephone numbers of the persons you want contacted in the event of an emergency."
In addition to the stickers, Horner said the police department also would provide an informational packet for those interested in the program.
"Clearly, it will expedite the contact of loved ones in the event of serious injury or illness," he said.
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.