Australian emergency services accept what3words
Australia’s emergency services have developed a free life-saving app, Emergency+, which helps people call the right emergency number and confirm their location. what3words is now available in this app, and emergency services in Australia accept and use what3words addresses to find Triple Zero (000) callers faster.
What is what3words?
what3words in the Emergency + app is the easiest way to tell Triple Zero (000) exactly where you need help. It has divided the world into 3 metre squares and given each one a unique three word identifier.
For example ///daytime.driver.banner identifies a precise location along the Henry Parkes Way in New South Wales. It means Triple Zero (000) callers can confirm their exact location quickly and easily, by saying 3 words to the call handler.
How it works
In the Emergency + app
When you open the Emergency+ app, you’ll see a series of icons for different emergency services in your area. Tap on the relevant icon for your emergency; you’ll get connected to a Triple Zero (000) call taker. When they ask for your location, read out the 3 words displayed at the bottom of your screen in the ‘My Location’ section. Help will then be sent to that exact what3words location.
In the what3words app
Open the what3words app, wait for the blue dot to stabilise to ensure you have the most accurate what3words address, then tap the Locate Me icon – it’s an arrow on iPhones and a target on Android devices. Dial Triple Zero (000) and read the 3 words on your screen to the call taker. They’ll know exactly where to send help.
Watch how Triple Zero (000) use what3words to find incidents faster:
Ambulance Tasmania was the first to use what3words to rescue an injured hiker back in April, and has continued to prove useful in emergencies Craig Garraway, St John NT’s Emergency Communication Center Manager said ‘We used the technology to locate a patient who had fallen on a walking track in Alice Springs – it meant dispatching a paramedic via helicopter quickly and easily. It’s a valuable and simple tool to use for emergency services, particularly when locating patients in rural or remote areas’.
Having a simple way to communicate exact locations is useful beyond emergencies. People are using what3words addresses to report infrastructure damage, save the location of the best food trucks in town, and navigate to exact meet-up spots. To discover, share and save what3words addresses, download the free app.
Do I need wifi, mobile data or phone reception to use Emergency+ or the what3words app?
what3words works offline, so you will be able to find the what3words address for your current location on either app without wifi, mobile data or phone reception. Please note that you will need a network signal to place a call to Triple Zero (000). If you don’t have any signal, we recommend writing down the what3words address for the emergency location, or saving it in the what3words app before moving to another location to find a signal. You can contact Triple Zero (000) and say the 3 words via radio if it is available.
How is this better or different from using Advanced Mobile Location (AML)?
what3words is a simple way to give a precise location in an emergency that can be spoken over the phone or radio. It complements tools like AML by allowing services to communicate a location easily between different parties. For emergency services that don’t yet have access to AML, which requires a control room integration, what3words is easy to use straight away and isn’t platform-dependent.
Why can’t I just share the GPS coordinates displayed on the Emergency + app?
You can share GPS coordinates, but saying 16 numbers over the phone is hard and takes time. what3words addresses are a much more human-friendly way of giving the same information. They are easy to say over the phone and much harder to mix up, which is really useful in emergencies.