MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Murfreesboro Emergency Communications Center is taking part in the #KnowExactlyWhere safety campaign to raise awareness of the what3words app in Rutherford County, TN from Nov. 7 through Nov. 13; also educating the public on how the free app can be effectively utilized in an emergency.
The what3words app provides a simple way to communicate a very precise location and has been used successfully in locating injured hikers, lost kayakers, reporting fires and rescuing pets with pinpoint accuracy. The technology has divided the world into a grid of 10ft squares and given each square a unique combination of three random words – a what3words address. For example, the front door of Murfreesboro Police Department is at ///goats.ozone.logo.
"In an emergency, identifying precisely where help is needed is critical in order to get resources to the scene quickly," said Murfreesboro Emergency Communications Director Seth Russell. “This is a valuable tool to aid 9-1-1 operators and first responders in locating anyone who finds themselves lost, injured, or in need of help in an unfamiliar location.”
Murfreesboro has been using what3words since 2021. The what3words location app helped to find two teenage girls lost in Barfield Park Aug. 7 of last year. The girls spent an hour after nightfall trying to get back to their vehicle using Google maps but were unable. The teens called 9-1-1. While on the way to the park, a 9-1-1 dispatcher informed Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department crews of the lost girls’ what3words address. Using the same app, crew members with Rescue 4 and Ladder 2 entering the trails near the Wilderness Station and located the girls where the what3words address had them pinpointed.
9-1-1 Emergency Communications personnel are trained to gather as much location information as possible from callers. 9-1-1 operators have access to several different technologies and methods which help them to identify callers' locations – with what3words being one of them.
“Emergency response teams already do phenomenal work and being able to provide them with an additional tool that can make their job easier is something we’re incredibly proud of,” said Giles Rhys Jones, CMO of what3words.
The app is free to download for both iOS and Android devices, and works offline, making it ideal for use in areas with an unreliable data connection, such as hiking trails and campsites. what3words can also be used via the online map at what3words.com.
The technology is available in 54 languages to date and can be used anywhere in the world. The system does not store or track users' location data, and there are no advertisements on the app or map.
How to use what3words in an emergency