Free app helps ambulance crews find patients faster

South Western Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust is urging people to download the what3words app so they

South Western Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust is urging people to download the what3words app so they can find patients faster. - Credit: Archant

A life-saving app helped ambulance crews to reach a woman who suffered heart problems on the cliffs in Brean.

Crews from South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) were able to find the woman using mobile mapping system what3words.

The what3words app divides the world into 57 trillion squares, each measuring 10ft by 10ft, and each has a unique three-word address.

SWASFT adopted the mobile mapping system earlier this year and it is already helping crews to locate patients faster.

David Fletcher, from SWASFT, said: "What3words is helping us to find patients more easily and quickly than ever before.

"Our callers are using it on a daily basis to tell our control room staff exactly where they are, so our frontline crews can pinpoint the location of patients in need of emergency care.

"We cover 10,000 square miles, including many rural and remote areas, and we can spend vital time trying to find patients.

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"This system means we can narrow down that search within seconds to a 3 sq.m area.

"By having a three-word address we are saving time, resources and lives."

The app also helped crews to reach a man who had fallen over and suffered a suspected hip injury near Royal Parade in Weston.

He was treated at the scene before being taken to hospital for further care.

The what3words map shows callers their exact location with a corresponding three-word address, which they give to the call handler so help can be dispatched to the precise location.

SWASFT is encouraging people to download the app, so they can use it in an emergency.

The app uses GPS signal to identify the user's current location, and once the user has it on their phone they do not need a data signal to obtain their three words.

Call-handler, Slade Stevens, said: "The app can be downloaded at the click of a button, and can make all the difference in an emergency when every second counts.

"I received a call from someone who was injured in a field, but didn't know where they were. By using the app we were able to establish exactly where help was needed, so we could send resources straight to the scene."