Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) is urging people to download the ‘what3words’ location technology app – that can help crews to find people faster in an emergency situation.
The plea comes following a serious incident last weekend in which crews were delayed because the caller did not know their precise location.
On-call firefighters from Lazonby Fire Station responded to an incident involving an overturned farm vehicle, trapping a male underneath.
The man was thankfully freed uninjured. However, the crew were initially sent to the wrong location, because the caller was unable to identify their exact position, and arrived 20 minutes after the call.
In response, CFRS is working with Young Farmer groups to encourage their community of approx. 3,000 farms across Cumbria to help spread the message and promote the importance of downloading this life-saving app.
In an emergency, identifying a caller’s exact location is incredibly important, but sometimes there is no easily identifiable landmark, address or postcode to establish exactly where an incident is taking place and this can result in valuable minutes being lost.
The free what3words app uses GPS technology to allow the caller and the emergency services to quickly pinpoint where they are and where an incident is taking place.
This means that no matter where they are – in a field, on the roadside, in the countryside, by a river bank or outside one of a multiple entrances to a shopping centre or concert arena – a fire crew can be sent to their precise location to tackle a fire incident, rescue someone from the water or rescue people trapped by a road traffic collision.
What3words has divided the world into 3-metre squares and given each square a unique three word code which lets anyone give their exact location simply by using these three words.
Cllr Janet Willis, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Fire and Rescue, said: “What3words is already being used by over 70 Police Forces and Emergency Services across the UK. North West Fire Control, who answer emergency fire calls for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service have the technology to convert what3words into the nearest street address location so that they are able to send the closest resources to emergencies.
“This system will really complement the range of other technology available to the control room so that crews can get to incidents more quickly. This is particularly beneficial in a large rural area like Cumbria that has a high number of visitors that are not familiar with the local area, and are often unable to give an accurate address to emergency call handlers.
“The app has already been credited with saving lives by reducing the time to identify the exact location of an emergency situation. I’d encourage everyone to download the app today and tell their friends and family to do the same as you never know when you might need to use it.”
what3words is free-to-use and available as a mobile app for both iOS and Android and via the what3words website.