What3Words for Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service HQ Image: Beds Fire

National week of action to help people in an emergency #KnowExactlyWhere

‘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. Services often can’t automatically detect where you are 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.

So, this week Bedfordshire Police and Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service have been taking part in #KnowExactlyWhere week to raise awareness about the free what3words app.

Including how it can be used to save precious time, resources and lives in an emergency. Bedfordshire Police’s Chief Superintendent John Murphy said:

“what3words has improved the way we respond to an emergency, work with partner agencies and adopt immediate actions at a crime scene to have the best chance of solving a crime.

“Since the beginning of the year the force has used what3words for ongoing incidents 107 times, including communicating the location of an identified crime scene in a large park to other officers, and locating an area of road blocked by a tree.

“During this week of awareness we are urging the public to download the app and help us to pinpoint your location so we can assist you if you’re in need.”

The app has divided the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares. It has given each square a unique combination of three words, known as a what3words address.

For example, ///tortoises.swarm.announce will take you to a precise location on Ben Nevis where in February 2020 a group of hikers were rescued.

The app is free to download for both iOS and Android and works offline. So it can be used 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, including Welsh, and can be used anywhere in the world. Chris Sheldrick, co-founder and ceo of what3words, said:

“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.”