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Fire control staff praise new location finder app


Staff from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s control room are encouraging residents and visitors to the area to download the increasingly popular What3Words app which can help pinpoint locations in the event of an emergency.

Use of the app by Control Firefighters based at the St Asaph Joint Communications Centre was made live in August, and the new technology has already proved useful in pinpointing rural locations.

Peter Davis, Head of Control, explains more: “We’re echoing the words of Police Forces across the UK who have been promoting this app recently and encouraging the public to download it on their smart phones.

“The purpose of the app is to pinpoint unique locations down to a 3m x 3m square. 

“The smartphone user will identify from the app which three words are the unique identifier for the location that they are in and it is then possible for others to identify their specific location once these words are conveyed.

“This is very useful for places that do not have a recognised address or for individuals that are lost or unsure of their location.

“The caller simply tells the control operator the three-word location and this is loaded into a website that shows with a high degree of accuracy their location.

“The control operators are now able to guide those who may be lost or unsure of where they are to download the app and assist them to use it to help locate them. While this will not replace our current use of standard gazetteers and mapping it may help assist in those cases where all other methods of location have been exhausted.

“The app has already proven successful in identifying the location of members of the public who found themselves in difficulties. South Yorkshire Police used it to find a 65-year-old man who became trapped after falling down a railway embankment in Sheffield. North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service found a woman who had crashed her car but was unsure where she was and Humberside Police were able to quickly resolve a hostage situation after the victim was able to tell officers exactly where she was being held.

“Here in North Wales Fire and Rescue Service the app was used within a few weeks of going live with the trial to pinpoint the map reference of a fire at Gwydr Forest, ensuring that the correct appliance was mobilised to deal with the incident as quickly as possible.

“The app can be used in emergency situations and is also an useful aid for anyone who needs a better understanding of their location.


“It’s great to see new technology being developed which is accessible for most of us and can really make a big difference in times of need.”


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