It's so important to #KnowExactlyWhere you are this summer

It's so important to #KnowExactlyWhere you are this summer

A secluded wooded area with two speech bubbles over the image. The top right speech bubble says "999: What's the address of the emergency?" The lower left speech bubble is from the caller and it says "it's deduced.revived.stated"
We support #KnowExactlyWhere as part of our summer safety campaign

A caller used what3words in June 2021 to help us locate her husband who had collapsed while out walking in a wooded Lincolnshire area. The patient who needed our help was Paul Osborne.

Paul had downloaded what3words in the middle of the national lockdown because he started a 1,000-mile virtual walk from Ruskington in Lincolnshire to Pisa in Italy. He did this by walking five miles a day to reach a virtual destination between Ruskington and Pisa and people who were supporting Paul were able to follow his virtual journey.

Paul Osborne walking in the woods. He is wearing glasses a fleece and has a backpack on.

“Five days in I was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis, a lung disease that affects my breathing,” Paul said.

“I didn’t let this stop me, and thankfully my consultant approved me to carry on walking and I decided to raise money to support Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis.

“Last month, my wife Anne and I went out for a walk with our dog in the forest and as time progressed I started to feel heavy-chested and had some trouble breathing.

“I continued slowly but eventually collapsed to the ground and it was really frightening.”

Paul is on the right of the picture and to his left is his wife Anne. They both look towards the camera as Anne smiles. In the background is a lake and some trees. The sky is cloudy but there are glimmers of blue and sunshine breaking through.
Paul Osborne with his wife Anne. The couple have been married for 17 years.

Paul and Anne realised that they needed the help of the emergency services but didn’t know exactly where they were. They opened the what3words app and dialled 999.

Paul added: “Within 20 minutes a rescue ambulance arrived.

“As soon as you hear those sirens coming, it’s so reassuring as a patient and I felt so relieved that help was on the way.”

Paul was taken to hospital to be checked over and was discharged later that day.

Summarising his ordeal, Paul added: “My wife and I swear by what3words.”

What3words is one of the many tools we use to help locate patients in an emergency

A member of staff in the control room looking at a map on a computer screen
Inside our control room.

Since October 2019 we have added what3words to the list of already established techniques we use to help locate a caller who needs us in an emergency:

  • When someone calls us and knows their home address, our IT systems use Advanced Mobile Locations (AML) and the Global Positioning Network (GPS – available on all android and iOS smartphones) to verify the street address and down to the minute details such as latitude and longitude and use of the UK grid reference.
  • If someone starts the 999 call by giving us their what3words address then our Emergency Operations Centre call takers will see the location and ask to describe elements of the location to verify this is the correct three-word combination.
  • Others use more traditional methods to help us find them, for example, by using the Ordnance Survey, Great Britain’s national mapping agency. It’s a great tool for people with good map reading skills, and provides the most accurate and up-to-date geographical data, relied on by government, business and individuals.