Ambulance service bosses urge people to learn the three words that could save your life under new system – Gloucestershire Live
Saying just three little words could save your life.
Bosses at the ambulance trust that covers Gloucestershire has brought in a new system which can place a patient’s location within three-square metres.
Saying three little words means they will be able to find you whether you are in the middle of a crowded event like the Glastonbury Festival or in a remote area of the countryside.
Emergency services often struggle to find 999 callers in rural areas such as Gloucestershire because many homes do not have place names and panicked people struggle to find locators in the middle of the countryside.
But South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) say a three-word global address system called what3words in its control room will change all that.
The what3words system divides the world into 57 trillion nine-square-metre (97-sq-ft) areas, and gives each a unique but simple three-word address such as table lamp spoon.
This gives callers struggling to explain where they are a really simple way to say exactly where help is needed.
Callers don’t even need a data signal because the app can use GPS signal to identify their current location and provide their three word address to 999 operators.
Avon and Somerset Police have been using the technology for around a year and now ambulance chiefs are trying it out at this week’s Glastonbury Festival where crews expect to attend around 200 emergency incidents.
“We cover an incredibly complex and varied area, including rural and urban regions, but sometimes there are no postcodes or clear directions to help us to pinpoint the location of patients in need of our care,” explained David Fletcher, head of SWASFT clinical hubs.
“This new mapping system will allow people to tell us easily and simply exactly where they are.
“If you download the app, it will mean we can find you more easily in an emergency when every second counts. It really could be the difference between life and death.”
The new app is being used to complement existing mapping systems and Sam Sheppard, command and control systems manager, said it has already made a difference.
“The control room staff that have used what3words for an emergency call have said how easy it is, and they were able to find the location a lot quicker than they previously would have,” he said.
The free-to-use app is available through the company’s website and founder Chris Sheldrickm said people should treat it in the same ways as an emergency contact list stored on their phone ready for when it is needed.
“We need to use the tools at our disposal to improve public services and potentially save lives,” he said.
“It’s free, it’s simple to use, and one day it might make sure you get the help you need, when you need it most.”