Emergency Response

Timely response to emergencies requires accurate location information

Emergencies can happen anywhere, from a broken down vehicle to a major natural disaster. A 3 word address can effectively communicate a precise location – anywhere on the planet – and support response teams in coordinating their operations.

Too frequently miscommunication of coordinates or the inability to define the location causes dangerous delays. However what3words can transform emergency services’ ability to respond quickly and efficiently.

Find out more about using what3words for Emergency Services

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Case studies

Rapid response provider Infinitum Humanitarian Systems (IHS) used what3words in Haiti during the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Using 3 word addresses enabled them to share location information quickly and easily with each other, and with command HQ back in the US.

The Philippine Red Cross has turned to what3words to provide them a more reliable and accurate addressing solution. With a 3 word address, ground crews can effectively communicate exactly where help is needed, via word of mouth or a simple SMS. The Operations Center can then coordinate additional support to that location, dispatching an ambulance crew or search and rescue teams, faster and more efficiently.

Mission critical dispatch platform, RapidDeploy, is changing the way emergency vehicles operate in any situation, from land to open water. First responders now use 3 word addresses to pinpoint the precise location of someone in distress, and the platform dispatches the nearest available resource. This means RapidDeploy can now help emergency services reach those in danger in less time and, ultimately, save more lives.

Building on UNDP’s use of what3words in the field in many regions across Africa, the regional security team in Turkey are using it to communicate across their teams. Drivers and security team members have downloaded the free what3words application, which enables them to simply describe the exact location of assets, people and even any incidents that arise.

Intterra, a geospatial technology company that specialises in public safety and emergency situational awareness, coordinated over 100 special NFL and corporate events. The communication of location is one of the key barriers when managing an emergency situation. Even in a built-up and developed area street addressing might not cover specific areas and is often not accurate enough. GPS coordinates are accurate but prone to error when communicating their 18 digits across a radio or in person. To solve the location issue Intterra have integrated what3words into their system.

Aligned Assets develop address management and gazetteer software for local authorities, the emergency services and the commercial sector including utilities and telecommunications. Transcribing and communicating long strings of numbers like 51.521049, 0.202721 are prone to error and prohibits their widespread use. Street addressing is not universal or accurate and there are numerous locations which need to be recorded which are not covered. To solve this problem Aligned Assets have added 3 word addresses to their product range.

BlueLight is an app that uses GPS positioning to help people feel safer on the go. It lets friends and family follow a user’s trips, and in the case of emergency, connects them to the fastest help at their location. It will immediately provide the caller’s 3 word address to any dispatcher in its network.

Festival Medical Services is a medical charity and a leading provider of high-quality event medical services. They also offer responder training and their medical teams support some of Europe’s largest events. Last year FMS trialled what3words to coordinate their team of medical staff and emergency responders and were able to respond to incidents in a more timely manner identifying exact location within seconds.

Where’s the emergency? This is one of the key questions that a control room dispatcher asks when responding to an 112 (Dutch emergency number) call. Every second counts when deploying a response and communicating location simply & easily is critical. Historically this has been challenging but Tensing & what3words now have a solution.

Resgrid are rolling out what3words into their Dispatch system, allowing dispatchers to create a call with a 3 word address and dispatch personnel to that location. After the initial rollout they will look to expand integration into their mobile apps – Responder, Unit and Incident Command – allowing for searching for a 3 word address, viewing address information and showing the 3mx3m grid.