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Last updated: 26/09/2019, 4:46 PM

What3words helps Brigade control locate bin fire

06/09/2019 10:26
London-wide
Our organisation

Would you know exactly what road you’re on at any given time? What3words app helps pinpoint everyone’s exact location and downloading it can help speed up our response especially if people don’t know where they are.

999 caller uses What3words app to help control officer locate fire

We're urging people to download the app which helps pinpoint everyone’s exact location. It divides the world into 57 trillion squares, each measuring 3m by 3m (10ft by 10ft) and each having a unique, randomly assigned three-word address.

First 999 call of its kind to the Brigade

The smartphone app was used recently to locate where a caller was in what is thought to be the first 999 call of its kind to London Fire Brigade.

Sam Lucas called 999 after seeing a bin fire but was unsure exactly what road he was on.

Sam said:

“I was working in an area I wasn’t familiar with and saw a bin fire. I had downloaded What3words a couple of weeks ago and was really impressed with how quickly it located where I was while I spoke to the 999 control officer.”

Grin, Bench, Losses

The Control Officer was Douglas Cawley who had worked in the Brigade’s 999 centre for five years.

Douglas said:

“We’ve been briefed on how to use What3words and how we can put the three words provided into a mapping system and locate where the caller is. This was the first time I’d used it and it was great at precisely locating the caller so I could direct firefighters to the right place quickly.”  

Sam fired up the app and gave the control officer the words – Grin, Bench, Losses.

Firefighters from Chiswick fire station were quickly mobilised and had the bin fire on King Street under control in 10 minutes from the time of Sam’s call.

Sam continued:

“I think the app is brilliant. I work in drainage and I think it is certainly something we should use as we’re working underground in tight spaces and if we’re ever trapped the emergency services can pinpoint our location by three identifiable words.”  

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