what3words Location App Being Used by Peterborough Fire and Police Services
News Release

Peterborough Fire Services and Peterborough Police Service are encouraging people to download the what3words app that uses an innovative global address system to help locate people in an emergency.

Local emergency services recently successfully used the technology to help find two hikers who were lost in the Trent Lakes area on April 2, 2021. Using what3words, Fire Services dispatchers were able to pinpoint their location and direct help to them.

what3words is an easy way to talk about location. Every 3-metre square in the world has been given a unique combination of three words: a what3words address. For example, ///evolved.wisdom.cheer will take you to the boathouse in Millennium Park next to the Otonabee River in Peterborough. The free what3words app can be downloaded for iOS and Android or people can use the online map.

The app works offline, making it ideal for use in rural areas that might have a poor internet connection, such as remote nature areas that are enjoyed by hikers and tourists. Every 3-metre square in the world has a what3words address, and they are available in over 40 languages, including French.

Using what3words addresses gives callers a simple way to describe precisely where help is needed and helps emergency response crews to get resources straight to the scene quickly. It has helped to rescue people from a range of incidents including locating victims of rural road accidents, people trapped by flood waters, and critically injured hikers and cyclists.

Identifying precisely where help is needed is critical for responding to emergencies; however, this can be near impossible for a caller to do if they get into trouble in an area with no address, no noticeable landmarks, or an address that doesn't narrow down their location.

Now, in an emergency where a location is difficult to describe, 9-1-1 callers can give their what3words address from the what3words app. People who do not have the app installed can be sent a link by emergency services to a mobile version of the site: ca.findme.w3w.co, which they can open in a mobile browser and read the three words on their screen to the 9-1-1 call operator. All the app requires to display you your what3words address is a GPS signal. 

London-based technology company what3words started the rollout of its innovative location technology to emergency services in the United Kingdom and South Africa in 2019, and Australia in 2020.  In the United Kingdom, it is relied upon by some emergency services on a daily basis, particularly in critical incidents, and has been credited with saving lives in regions up and down the country. 

"Being able to use what3words is going to make a huge difference in response times for people in potentially hard-to-find locations, especially in life-threatening situations. For anyone who finds themselves lost, injured or in need of help in an unfamiliar location, trying to communicate where help is needed just using visual descriptions of what they can see, or trying to remember what direction they were heading, can be very stressful. The what3words app will help save precious time responding to emergencies," Fire Chief Chris Snetsinger and Police Chief Scott Gilbert said. 

Chris Sheldrick, CEO of what3words says "Every month, people all around the world struggle to communicate their location to emergency services. This leads to crucial minutes and sometimes hours lost when trying to save lives. It's exciting to hear that the Peterborough emergency service control room operators are starting to use  what3words and we are looking forward to working with them as they embrace new technologies, like ours, to help save lives." 

Individuals are using the what3words app to navigate the world more easily and to meet friends in places without addresses such as parks, beaches or at crowded festivals. what3words addresses are being used by running clubs, hikers, sailors, and by hotels to guide guests to their entrance without complicated written directions. 

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