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App helps Air Ambulance crews pinpoint patients location

Devon Air Ambulance is encouraging the public to download the free app, ‘what3words’ to help crews attend the precise location of patients in an emergency.

This year more than ever, emergency services across the UK are experiencing an exceptionally busy summer, as restrictions on international travel have resulted in a huge increase in Brits opting to holiday in the UK. Downloading the what3words app is one of the simplest actions the public can take to support stretched emergency control rooms.

what3words has divided the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares. It has given each square a unique identifier made of three random words – a what3words address. The app is free to download for both iOS and Android and works entirely offline – making it ideal for use in areas of the UK with an unreliable data connection, such as beaches, national parks and campsites which are incredibly popular during the summer months. It is now used by over 85% of UK emergency services – police, fire and ambulance – and all services surveyed described what3words as ‘a reliable tool to have as part of the emergency toolkit’. 

Charlotte Leventis, Head of Communications at Devon Air Ambulance said:

Needing urgent help and not being able to easily describe where help is needed can be very distressing for the caller and really difficult for 999 call handlers to direct emergency services crews to the exact location of the incident. Today, people nearly always have their mobile phones with them so throughout this very busy summer and with our emergency services under extreme pressure we urge people to download the free what3words app which can help our crews to reach them quickly and potentially, save a life.

Emergency services are trained to gather as much location information as possible from callers and have access to a number of different technologies and methods which help them to identify callers’ locations – with what3words being one of them. In a recent voluntary survey of 18 emergency service control rooms across the UK, 89% agreed that what3words is ‘an essential tool for the public to have on their phones this summer’.

what3words can also be used via the online map at The app is available in over 45 languages, including Welsh, and can be used anywhere in the world.

For more information visit and learn more about Devon Air Ambulance or make a donation to help maintain their life-saving work at

Image credit: Devon Air Ambulance