The National Retail Federation (NRF) is encouraging businesses to endorse “ICE,” which stands for In Case of Emergency, a new awareness campaign that will allow ambulance crews, police officers and rescue personnel to quickly contact family or friends in the event of an accident or disaster. The ICE initiative, conceived by a paramedic in England, is to have cell phone users program the acronym “ICE” before the names of the people they want to designate as emergency contacts in their cell phone address book.
“With one in five Americans working in the retail industry, it is crucial that retailers prepare their employees for potential disasters,” said Joe LaRocca, NRF vice president of loss prevention. “As a touch point for consumers, retailers should also be encouraging their customers to use ICE in the unlikely event of an emergency. ICE is a simple, yet invaluable resource retailers can use if a customer or employee needs emergency assistance while in their stores.”
Businesses nationwide are getting involved in the campaign, asking their employees to program an ICE contact into their cell phones and encouraging them to have their family and friends do the same. In the event that a customer suffers an emergency in a place where he or she is unable to communicate, employees and emergency personnel will be able to search the customer’s phone for ICE listings and notify family or obtain medical histories.
“As retailers, we have a responsibility to use our best efforts to keep both our employees and customers safe while they are in our stores,” said Dan Doyle, vice president of loss prevention, human resources and administration of Beall’s Inc., and chairman of the NRF Loss Prevention Advisory Council. “The majority of the people in our stores, whether they are shopping or working, are carrying cell phones with them. We are encouraging all of them to take the time to program an ICE contact so that their relatives can be notified in the unlikely event of an accident.”