Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) is encouraging the public to use ‘what3words’ to ensure fire engines are sent to accurate locations.Advertisement
The what3words app can be downloaded for free, and provides an exact location, with every three metres squared having its own unique code, which is a trio of words.
For example, the trio of words for The Harris is ‘ripe.tiger.belt’, Deepdale Stadium is ‘boats.silly.credit’ and Hurst Grange Park is ‘varities.bunks.riches’.
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The app has been found to be beneficial for the emergency services, and was introduced at North West Fire Control (NWFC) in August 2019. NWFC are the call handlers who take emergency calls and mobilise fire engines to incidents across Lancashire and the North West.
If a caller rings and is unsure of their location, the team at NWFC will ask them to download the app, if they haven’t already, and report the three words designated to their location.
They are then able to dispatch help to their exact location by passing the three words to the fire crews.
Street addresses or postcodes are not always precise locations, whereas the what3words app narrows the location down to three metres squared.
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Alternatively, people can call to give their location using what3words to say where they can see a fire if they don’t know the exact location of the fire.
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Station Manager of Response and Emergency Planning, Mark Warwick, said: “The what3words app is still a relatively new platform for reporting emergencies but one with so much potential. We’ve had instances where someone rang 999 but didn’t know their whereabouts, but by giving NWFC the what3words we were able to send two fire engines.
“With all the recent wildfires and the huge areas crews would potentially have to cover by foot, to determine the area of fire, the what3words app has been invaluable. I’d encourage everyone to download the app. It’s free, can be used in lots of different scenarios and can get crews dispatched to an accurate location in an emergency.”
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When using what3words to report a fire, it’s important to speak clearly and even spell the words out, as dialect and background noise could cause confusion – for example ‘soul’ and ‘sole’ sound the same but could give two completely different location reference points.
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Have you used the What3words app before? Will you be downloading it after learning about the benefits? Let us know in the comments below.