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What3Words - Helping Emergency Services Find You

How it works:

  1. Open the app or website
  2. Select 'Current location'
  3. Quote the three words on the screen to the emergency services 
  4. They will now be able to locate you

SWASFT has recently adopted the three-word global address system called what3words in its control room to locate patients within a three-square metre area.

999 callers can use the free app to find the three-word address for their location, and share it with the call handler.

The control room can use the address to identify the precise location, and send help exactly where it is needed.

SWASFT is encouraging people to download the app, but only to use it in a genuine emergency.

David Fletcher, head of SWASFT Clinical Hubs, said: “We cover an incredibly complex and varied area, including rural and urban regions, but sometimes there are no postcodes or clear directions to help us to pinpoint the location of patients in need of our care.

“While we will continue to use our existing mapping systems, we are now also using the new technology to locate incidents.

“This new mapping system will allow people to tell us easily and simply exactly where they are. So no matter whether they are in the middle of Dartmoor, at a festival, or in the middle of a university campus, their location will have a unique three-word description which will help us to find them.

“If you download the app, it will mean we can find you more easily in an emergency when every second counts. It really could be the difference between life and death.”

Identifying precisely where help is needed in an emergency is critical. But it can be hard for callers to communicate where they are.

what3words divides the world into 57 trillion nine-square-metre (97-sq-ft) areas, and gives each a unique three-word address. For example, the entrance to Exeter Cathedral can be found at ‘‘///cloth.kings.title’.

Sam Sheppard, command and control systems manager, said: “Having this type of technology integrated within our Command and Control system has changed the way we are able to deal with incidents where the location isn’t known.

“The Control Room staff that have used what3words for an emergency call have said how easy it is, and they were able to find the location a lot quicker than they previously would have.”

Read more on Plymouth Live.

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