Georgina Fire and Rescue Services is taking part in the #KnowExactlyWhere safety campaign from Oct. 3 to Oct. 9 to raise awareness of the free what3words app and how it can be used in an emergency. The what3words app offers a simple way to communicate a very precise location. The technology has been successfully used throughout Canada for everything from reporting fires and rescuing pets, to locating critically injured snowmobilers, hikers and boaters with pinpoint accuracy.
“This past summer, Georgina Fire and Rescue Services used what3words to assist with a number of water rescues,” said Fire Chief Ron Jenkins. “What3words is free, simple to use and it can help us send our resources exactly where help is needed.”
In an emergency, identifying precisely where help is needed is critical to getting resources to the scene quickly. This can be challenging when callers are in remote or unfamiliar areas, without street addresses or on unnamed trails. In these moments, emergency services can waste precious time and resources just trying to locate the person in need of help.
Using a what3words address gives callers a simple way to describe precisely where help is needed and enable call takers to dispatch resources straight to the scene, saving precious minutes in an emergency. What3words has divided the world into a grid of 10-foot squares and given each square a unique combination of three random words – a what3words address. The app is free to download for both iOS and Android devices, and works offline, making it ideal for use in areas with an unreliable data connection, such as hiking trails and campsites. It can also be used via the online map at what3words.com.
The technology is available in 53 languages and can be used anywhere in the world. The system does not store or track users' location data, and there are no advertisements on the app or map. To date, what3words is available to more than 50 emergency communications centres across Canada, with a presence in eight provinces and two territories.