Emergency services across the UK are preparing for an exceptionally busy summer, as restrictions on international travel have resulted in a huge increase in Brits opting to holiday in the UK. Emergency services have warned of the ‘unprecedented’ pressure that this has put on control rooms and are calling for the public to download and familiarise themselves with the free what3words app as a simple way to stay safe and support emergency services this summer.
what3words has divided the world into a grid of 3m squares, and given each square a unique combination of three words. ///laptop.processes.works for example will take you to the best view over Durdle Door in Devon. The app is free to download for both iOS and Android devices, and works offline, making it ideal for use in areas with unreliable data connection, such as beaches, national parks and campsites. what3words can also be used via the online map at what3words.com. The technology is available in over 45 languages, including Welsh, and can be used anywhere in the world.
what3words is now used by over 85% of UK emergency services – police, fire and ambulance. While not intended as a replacement for any traditional ‘must-pack’ survival gear worth bringing along on all hikes, camping trips, and other outdoor adventures this summer, the technology has become a well-used tool for emergency services, saving dispatchers and responders precious time and resources in an emergency.
what3words research conducted by Opinion Matters found that 68% of Brits going on a staycation this summer are going somewhere unfamiliar to them. However, while nearly two in five of us (39%) have gotten lost on holiday, only a third (33%) of staycationing Brits plan to take a map with them on holiday this year. Giving a what3words address in an emergency ensures that dispatch teams know exactly where the caller needs help, and can locate them quickly and easily when every second counts.
The technology has been used for everything from reporting fires and rescuing pets to locating callers mid-heart attack with pinpoint accuracy. For example, In June, a man was rescued late at night in stormy weather after suffering a suspected broken ankle on a remote cliff path in Cornwall. Thanks to what3words, the Bude Coastguard Rescue Team was able to swiftly locate the injured caller and his partner, who were both cold, wet and at risk of developing hypothermia had quick action not been taken.
Chris Sheldrick, co-founder and CEO of what3words, says, “what3words is a valuable tool, both for emergency services and members of the public. It’s useful for organising meet-up locations on parks and beaches, but also provides the peace of mind of knowing that you and your family will always be able to tell emergency services exactly where to go. We hope that people enjoy venturing off the beaten track this summer, but do so safely.”