In a serious emergency, first responders already look in your cell phone to see if you've listed an emergency contact. Increasingly, people are listing it under ICE — in case of emergency. Now your cell phone could help save your life.

That's the premise behind MyRapidMD, a program that sends a java file containing information that could save emergency medical crews time in helping you should you be in an accident or unable to provide information yourself, says Mark White, president of the company.

"We took the Medical Alert bracelet idea into the 21st century," he says, adding the program was designed by first responders to help their colleagues when someone is in crisis and unable to speak for themselves.

Emergency responders work on a format called "SAMPLE" — signs and symptoms, allergies, medication, past history, last intake and events prior. The first hour, often referred to as the "golden hour," may determine how well you do. Emergency crews need information fast, and White says putting it on a cell phone, which most adults and a "whole lot" of adolescents and kids have, makes things simple.

The information resides on the cell phone, but it doesn't rely on whether the phone can get a signal. As long as there's power to the phone, the responders can scroll through and get it, along with a picture so there's no case of mistaken identity should person and phone be separated for some reason.

The data are backed up by a 24-hour call center so responders can enter your unique number and also receive your emergency service profile. And there are specific places where they look for that number.

Your record doesn't contain your home address (although it lists your city), Social Security number or credit card information. It's of no use to someone who might steal your phone, White adds. "With a name and town, (res-

ponders) can find out who you are if they need to go that far. But the guy who might want to steal your Valium can't."

The program has 15 fields that emergency teams say are crucial, including allergies, what medicines you're taking, your blood type, a contact number and your doctor's phone number.

The program and more information about it is online at www.myrapidmd.com. Online, someone can sign up and provide information and a photo that will make up the file, which can be sent to any cell phone that's Web capable and java capable. Most are both, White says. It does not work on an iPhone, he said, although "we are pretty confident it will sometime in the future."

Cost is $19.95 for an individual and $5.95 for annual renewal. Until Aug. 1, people who sign up can get lifetime service for $19.95.

"It's one more tool for the emergency system without making (first responders) buy more software."


E-mail: lois@desnews.com