OCEAN CITY – Thousands of young people descend on the resort each summer and quickly run into all sorts of problems from noise violations and underage drinking arrests to sexual assaults and serious injuries, but parents might be able sleep a little better this year knowing a pilot program has been established to provide a 24-hour emergency contact service for kids during Senior Week.
Called Ice Pac 911, the fledgling program is being established by lawyer and former Ocean City summer resident Susan Boone, who now has children of her own in college and knows first hand the trouble otherwise good kids can find themselves in without adult supervision. The program will connect parents away from their young children with an adult aide on call 24 hours a day in the event of an emergency large or small.
Boone’s intent is to create a program in which a network of adults will be on call and can respond quickly to any emergency encountered by young people while in the resort. She launched the program this year after her son suffered a head injury while away at college.
“I felt completely helpless at a time when my son really needed me,” she said. “I wanted nothing more than to have a responsible adult there to help me evaluate the situation by providing accurate, detailed information.”
For a small fee, Ice Pac 911 pairs each child away from home, in this case in Ocean City for Senior Week, with a local adult aide who will do everything from arrange for a taxi, meet face-to-face to assess a situation, or wait at the hospital or even police lock-up if necessary until their parents or guardians arrive. Boone pointed out the adult aides will not provide and legal or medical advice.
“The primary thing we do is communicate,” she said. “Kids don’t evaluate a situation like an adult does, and by having an aide just a phone call away may save a parent a long trip to Ocean City and quite a few sleepless nights.”
Boone said the adult aides will provide a first line of defense of sorts for children away from home and the first call will always go to the parents, who will tell them how they want to proceed to assist their child and be their eyes and ears until they can arrive. She intends to start Ice Pac 911 as a pilot program during Senior Week in Ocean City this summer with plans to expand it to college campuses around the country this fall.
“As the mother of two college-age boys and an attorney for over 20 years, I’ve seen it all,” she said. “Hopefully, another family will benefit from my experience.”