From Monday 27th July, we are taking part in #KnowExactlyWhere week alongside other emergency services, local authorities and organisations around the UK to raise awareness about the free what3words app – and how it can be used to save precious time, resources and lives in an emergency.
what3words has divided the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares. It has given each square a unique combination of three words – a what3words address. ///elect.perfume.bluffing, for example, will take you to a precise location on the Seven Sisters in East Sussex, where we helped a cyclist earlier this year.
Wayne Trinder sustained a double femur fracture in his right leg, after he was thrown over the handlebars of his electric bike in June. Wayne was able to be located thanks to what3words: “I was told to ring 999 direct in order for them to triangulate my location via a text message they sent to my phone. It contained three words which were elect, perfume, bluffing. By saying those words they were able to find my location. I felt immense relief and reassurance when I saw the KSS crew exit the helicopter in their bright red outfits and start to make tracks in my direction.”
The app is free to download for both iOS and Android and works entirely offline – making it ideal for use in areas of the UK with an unreliable data connection.
what3words can also be used via the online map at what3words.com. The technology is available in over 40 languages and can be used anywhere in the world.
‘Where’s the emergency?’ is one of the first questions you are asked when calling 999. But saying exactly where you are can be challenging. Emergencies can happen anywhere, from a remote beach in Sussex, to the side of the M25, to the middle of the South Downs National Park. Services often can’t detect where you are automatically and dropped pins are difficult to explain over the phone. Landmark-based descriptions are prone to errors and GPS coordinates are long and difficult to communicate. At best, this is a frustrating drain on resources. At worst, it can mean the difference between life and death.
We started using what3words earlier this year. It has been used a number of times to help us to ensure our resources are sent exactly where help is needed, fast.
Chris Sheldrick, co-founder and CEO of what3words comments “A 999 call could be one of the worst times of your life. Having to provide additional directions when you’re under immense stress and the clock is ticking is something that we want everyone to avoid. You never know when an emergency might happen, but with what3words, you’ll always be able to say exactly where help is needed – quickly and easily. We’re extremely proud and humbled to see what3words being used successfully in control rooms up and down the country, and every what3words rescue that we hear about touches our team personally.”