02/08/2021

Emergency crews in Donetsk Oblast used what3words to identify the precise location of a 101 caller. This is the first known rescue in Ukraine involving what3words’ innovative location technology.

In an emergency situation, identifying precisely where help is needed is essential to getting resources to the scene quickly. But people who call the emergency services for help often struggle to say where they are, especially if they’re in an area with no addresses or landmarks.

Stuck in the sand

This is exactly what happened when a truck driver got his vehicle stuck in the sand on a remote, unmarked road near the town of Lyman, Donetsk Oblast. With no known landmarks in sight, the driver struggled to describe to emergency services precisely where he was.

Fortunately, the 101 call operator had been trained to help callers give their exact location using what3words. This innovative technology provides a very simple way to communicate accurate locations.  It has divided the world in 3 metre squares, and given each square a unique identifier made of three random words. For example, ///observe.editor.audio is the entrance to Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra located in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Rescued using what3words

Following the 101 dispatcher’s instructions, the driver used the free what3words app to retrieve the three words for their exact location. They read them out over the phone, and within minutes soldiers of the 21st State Fire and Rescue Unit knew exactly where the driver was. Members of the State Emergency Service arrived at the scene and, with the help of a tanker truck and towing rope, pulled the vehicle to safety.

Simple, efficient and easy to use

The what3words app is free to download for both iOS and Android. Unlike coordinates, what3words addresses are easy to communicate over the phone. It works offline, making it ideal for use in remote areas with an unreliable data connection such as hiking trails and beaches.  what3words addresses are available in over 48 languages including Ukrainian, Russian and English.

what3words is an effective tool in the emergency toolbox for many services

Thanks to efforts by the UNDP in Ukraine, dispatchers at emergency contact centres in the three Eastern regions of Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia have been trained to use and accept what3words address on 101 calls. They join a growing number of emergency services globally using what3words alongside other location sharing methods. This includes over 85% of the UK emergency services, plus several in Canada, Australia, Germany and the USA. Emergency services use what3words via the free app, the online map at what3words.com or by integrating the technology into their computer aided dispatch (CAD) systems.

Learn about more real life rescues involving what3words

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