Say you’re traveling with your horses and are involved in a serious accident. If you’re incapacitated, how will first responders know who to contact? How will they know what to do with your horses? USRider is advising horse owners of a new initiative that has been receiving a lot of publicity recently – ICE, which stands for In Case of Emergency. This very simple program has been designed to aid emergency responders in identifying victims whose identity is unknown and in determining who needs to be notified.
USRider is a nationwide roadside assistance plan created especially for equestrians. It includes standard features such as flat-tire repair, battery assistance and lockout services, plus towing up to 100 miles and roadside repairs for tow vehicles and trailers with horses, emergency stabling, veterinary and farrier referrals, and more.
Implementing ICE is easy. Program your emergency contact information into your cellular phone and designate it with the acronym ICE. For example, if your brother John is the person you want to have alerted in the event of an emergency, insert the letters “ICE” before his name in your phone’s address book, creating an entry such as "ICE – John."
For those who regularly travel with horses, it’s important to make it easy for first responders to know who to contact for information on handling your horses. To do this, program an entry called "ICE – Horse" with the contact information of someone with the authority to make decisions about the care of your horses if you are incapacitated.
The idea for ICE was conceived by Bob Brotchie, a clinical team leader for the East Anglian Ambulance Service, after years of trying to reach relatives of people he was treating. With ICE, paramedics or police can swiftly find the number or numbers and reach relatives or friends who could help identify deceased victims and treat injured ones, by providing vital personal information, including details of any medical conditions.
USRider strongly encourages the public, especially those who travel with horses, to participate in the ICE initiative.
"This is a simple way to ensure that emergency, ambulance and hospital staff can quickly find out who your next of kin are and be able to contact them,” said Mark Cole, managing member of USRider. “In addition, those people could provide pertinent information about your horses in the event of an emergency."
Before putting someone's name in as an emergency contact, be sure to discuss it with the person first and ask for permission to do so.
"While we recommend that USRider members carry their USRider Membership at all times, we would like to recommend that they use their cellular phones to program the emergency contact number and membership ID number on their card into their cellular telephone as well, such as 'USRider-800#' and 'USRider-ID#' – so they have it in an emergency."
In conjunction with these recommendations, USRider recommends that conscientious horse owners prepare a limited/special power of attorney document relating to any treatment and care of their horses in the event that the owner is incapacitated. A sample power-of-attorney form is available online at www.usrider.org.
"While these are not pleasant subjects," said Cole, "this is part of good animal stewardship, and conscientious horse owners should take steps to see that their horses are properly cared for in an emergency."
An additional safety precaution is to secure emergency contact information to your horse trailer. USRider has created exterior emergency decals and interior information placards that are included at no extra cost in the USRider membership kit. Non-members can request copies of these decals from the USRider website by entering the site’s guest book.
For more information about USRider, call toll-free (800) 844-1409 or visit www.usrider.org.