How what3words is helping us at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service


Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) have been using the free what3words app since July 2019, and we have recently supported their #KnowExactlyWhere campaign.

The free app was developed to provide a unique series of three words that are linked to a 3 meter square grid that covers the planet. This enables people to provide their location in an emergency, even if they don’t know where they are.

Recently, NFRS have attended incidents that have needed the what3words app in the initial stages.

On Friday 31 July 2020, Station Manager, Simon Glew was driving back from a community exercise when the traffic on the A38 came to a stop, and he noticed there was an Ambulance further down the road.

Simon said: “I made my way safely through the traffic to see if I could offer any assistance. I had come across a Road Traffic Collision (RTC) where a car had gone through the central reservation and hit road furniture. There were no people trapped but there was oil on the road and the roads were closed in both directions.”

Simon rang the joint control to inform them of this incident, so they could mobilise a fire appliance and the police. They asked for the location of the incident, which Simon didn’t know due it being in the middle of the A38.

Whilst on the call, he used the what3words app which he had previously downloaded to his smart phone to get the exact location which he then passed to the fire control operator.

“The app is fantastic for emergency situations. No matter where you are, you will be able to provide an exact location so services can get to you”, Simon said.

There have been other occasions and incidents where NFRS have had to use the what3words app.

On Thursday 9 July 2020 at around 8:30am, a driver was making his way to work when his vehicle hit standing water whilst negotiating a bend. This caused the vehicle to lose control, hit a curb and flip into a field landing on its side. The driver managed to climb out and call 999 but could not provide the exact location.

District Manager, Colin Poyzer passed this incident on his way to work. After discussion with the driver, Colin was then able to contact Joint control with an exact location for them via the app.

On Tuesday 4 August 2020, it was used so that control could get a more accurate location for a fire that broke out in Gunthorpe and in November 2019, it was used to give an exact location on the A1 for a structural engineer to attend a bridge that had damage to it from recent flooding.

NFRS want to raise awareness about the what3words app as it is used around the UK to save precious time, resources and lives, especially in an emergency.

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