Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Have you downloaded the what3words app?

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging the public to download what3words, a free smartphone app that helps you easily and accurately describe your location.

The app developers have broken the world down into trillions of 3m by 3m squares, each with a unique three-word address. These three words can then be used to pinpoint your location more accurately when sending emergency services to you.

Andrea MacAlister, Head of Community Safety at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: “what3words provides a precise and incredibly simple way to talk about the location you are in. Using the three word address gives the caller a simple way to describe precisely where they are so crews can get to them quickly.

“Several emergency services have urged people to download the smartphone app, as there are already examples of where it has saved lives in remote or unusual locations.”

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has installed the what3words app on all of its tablets in fire engines to enable crews to get to the scene quickly.

The Service’s control room asks callers in remote locations if they have the app and if they don’t, the team encourages callers to quickly download the app.

Ryan Gibson, Control Room Operator said: “what3words literally pin points the caller’s exact location and if the caller hasn’t got it, we have asked them to quickly download it which takes seconds and it’s really easy to use.”

The Service has already had some successes with the app, which still works without a phone signal and works anywhere in the world.

Dave Bond, Watch Manager at Orsett Fire Station recently attended a two vehicle road traffic collision where one of the drivers had collided with an electrical box at the side of the road.

The driver was trapped in his vehicle and Dave and his team needed to isolate the electricity to make the scene as safe as possible.

Dave said: “I had requested the attendance of the electricity board to isolate the box. Our Control Room then came back to me over the radio saying that the electricity board had requested the what3words location of the electrical box in question, as they were able to isolate it remotely but there were quite a few in the area.

“We were able to give a what3words location, and within a couple of minutes the power to all the houses around the incident went out and we were told the box had been isolated. This created a much safer environment for firefighters to operate in and made my decision making much easier by reducing/eliminating this risk so quickly.”

If you want to feel safe on your travels knowing that emergency services will be able to find you easily, download the what3words app today at

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