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App divides Richmond into small squares to help first responders find you in an emergency

Posted at 7:27 AM, Mar 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 07:27:47-04

RICHMOND, Va. — Richmond EMTs and paramedics have implemented a new app to help them locate you faster when you call 911.

The app is called What3Words.

The program divides the entire world into 10-foot squares.

Those squares are then assigned square three words with which they can be identified.

What3Words app.jpg

The Communications Center at Richmond Ambulance Authority can use that data to more precisely track where someone is if they’re using a cell phone.

There is no need to download the What3Words app on your phone for the technology to work.

Maj. Amit Patel explained that this technology is beneficial in locating you if you're the middle of a park, like Belle Isle.

“This process and how it’s already integrated with our call-taking procedures is very beneficial to the citizens that need our assistance,” Patel said. “It’s going to get us their location and will be able to provide that care they’re needing in a timely fashion.”

Patel admitted there have been challenges locating certain 911 callers in the past even though Richmond is densely populated.

“A lot of times describing, ‘Hey, I’m 10 feet from a bridge,’ isn’t always going to give you the most appropriate location. It would definitely be beneficial inside any of the parks for recreational areas that don’t physically have an address assigned to,” he stated. “This app and this process that was created is definitely going to improve our responses to those locations.”

RAA said it has used the app at least once and it was successful.

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