what3words Emergency Location

1.What is it?

A smart new way of navigating around space where each 3m x 3m space has 3 words designated to itself. As a postcode may cover a larger area, this is a more precise and descriptive approach of an area which can be easily scanned with the naked eye.

2. Why is it important?

Calling 999 in an emergency is usually daunting and you may have multiple thoughts running through your head. Many from the phone service have experienced the caller having difficulty in describing their whereabouts with vague descriptions of trees, lampposts and everyday landmarks.

Especially if the incident has happened inside a large park, open grounds or the motorway, it can be difficult to describe the exact location which can essentially compromise the outcome of the patient. The time can now be better spent by speeding up the process using what3words to precisely locate the incident to the call team and relay the information quickly to the paramedics, police or fire brigades.

what3words also make it easy to integrate the information between softwares as each location only consists of two lines of code which are currently accepted by Sopra Steria Storm, Airbox, Northgate and MIS.

3. How does it work?

  • what3words’ services are being used by a number of industries from automotive to travel, logistics and even humanitarian aid across the world 
  • in terms of emergency services and patient care what3words can be used in two ways – download the what3words app on IOS and Android or follow the link the emergency services can send you whilst on the phone 
  • share the 3 word address with your operator on the phone 
  • the operator will share the address with the outgoing team 
  • wait for the emergency services to arrive in the exact location given 
  • what3words also works offline anywhere in the world so you never feel isolated

Here are the current services who confirm use of what3words:


Avon & Somerset PoliceGuernsey PoliceNorthumbria Police
Bedfordshire PoliceGwent PoliceNorth Yorkshire Police
British Transport PoliceHampshire PoliceSouth Yorkshire Police
Cambridgeshire PoliceHertfordshire PoliceSouth Wales Police
Cleveland PoliceHumberside PoliceSuffolk Police
Cumbria PoliceKent PoliceSurrey Police
Durham PoliceNottinghamshire PoliceWest Yorkshire Police
Essex PoliceNorfolk Police 
Gloucestershire PoliceNorthamptonshire Police 

Fire and rescue 

Avon Fire & RescueEssex Fire & RescueOxfordshire Fire & Rescue
Bedfordshire Fire & RescueGreater Manchester Fire & RescueRoyal Berkshire Fire & Rescue
Buckinghamshire Fire & RescueHertfordshire Fire & RescueSouth Wales Fire & Rescue
Cambridgeshire Fire & RescueHumberside Fire & RescueSouth Yorkshire Fire & Rescue
Cleveland Fire & RescueLancashire Fire & RescueStaffordshire Fire & Rescue
Cornwall Fire & RescueLeicestershire Fire & RescueSuffolk Fire & Rescue
Cheshire Fire & RescueLincolnshire Fire & RescueTyne and Wear Fire & Rescue
Cumbria Fire & RescueMid & West Wales Fire & RescueWarwickshire Fire & Rescue
Derbyshire Fire & RescueNottinghamshire Fire & RescueWest Midlands Fire & Rescue
Devon & Somerset Fire & RescueNorth Yorkshire Fire & RescueWest Sussex Fire & Rescue
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & RescueNorfolk Fire & RescueWest Yorkshire Fire & Rescue
Durham & Darlington Fire & RescueNorthumberland Fire & Rescue 
East Sussex Fire & RescueNorth Wales Fire & Rescue 


Devon Air AmbulanceSouth East Coast Ambulance ServiceYorkshire Ambulance Service
East of England Ambulance ServiceThames Valley Air Ambulance Service 
South Western Ambulance ServiceYorkshire Air Ambulance 


  • UK Coastguard 

Please note: always take note of as much information as possible within your location in case what3words are not accepted.


All images in this article except the leading graphic belongs to what3words

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