We need to store contact phones for a contact, to have a list of people to phone in case of emergency. For example, we have children contacts and we want to store the phones of their parents and grandparents without having to create a CiviCRM contact for each of these phones.

We expect to do this on phone section but seems it's not possible to do so without pervert the expected functionality of these fields.

There is a way to do this? If not, what would be the best way to make it possible? Through an extension? Adding it to core? I imagine a "Note" field on a phone row next to "Phone, ext. Phone location, Phone type" to allow attaching a comment like "mother's phone".

2 Answers 2


I can see a few options:

  • create phone types (or perhaps even location types if it is more than a phone for an emergency) like 'parents phone'. This is what I have done myself for a youth choir

  • create a custom data set 'emergency phones' for individuals. If you set it to allow multiple records you can have a group with a label field and a number field

  • you could indeed use notes but I would not recommend that as it is unstructured data

  • an extension seems like overkill to me in this case

  • Thanks ErikH. First is too restrictive for us. We have a more complex casuistry than the one I have described. Second option sounds good, the only inconvenient is that the custom data fields will be away from the phone section where we would like to find this information. I had also considered the third option and discarded for the reason that you give among others. For me, an extension or core functionality could solve the problem of finding the information where it is expected to be found although I agree that could overload the phone field. Oct 18, 2017 at 16:22
  • 1
    Custom fields and a custom tpl for your summary screen so the numbers show closer to the existing phones might be a hybrid solution.
    – petednz - fuzion
    Oct 18, 2017 at 17:53
  • agree with petednz. Use the custom fields and then a small extensions that places that info on the contact summary might be the solution for you. Oct 19, 2017 at 6:41

Right now we are collecting this data using the same phone or extension fields. But we understand that it is not the best way and that it can give us problems for example if we want to use a validator of phone numbers.

See the following images as examples:

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  • i think that is a pretty smart workaround
    – petednz - fuzion
    Oct 18, 2017 at 17:52

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