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Meet the lifesaving app being used in ever more Norfolk rescues

An illustration of how What3Words could be used by Norfolk Fire and Rescue to hone in on the exact location of a fire in a rural location. Picture: Norfolk Fire and Rescue

An illustration of how What3Words could be used by Norfolk Fire and Rescue to hone in on the exact location of a fire in a rural location. Picture: Norfolk Fire and Rescue

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A new app which gives every spot in the world a unique three-word code has been used to rescue two people cut off by the tide in Norfolk.

Pete Revell, Bacton Coastguard rescue officer. Picture: Neil DidsburyPete Revell, Bacton Coastguard rescue officer. Picture: Neil Didsbury

A new app which gives every spot in the world a unique three-word code has been used to rescue two people cut off by the tide in Norfolk.

The Coastguard sent a link to the app What3Words to the pair when they found themselves trapped by the rising water while walking on Stiffkey Marshes at around 4pm on January 8.

Tapping the link gave the stranded pair the code for the 3m-square grid space of where they standing, meaning rescuers were able to find them.

Pete Revell, rescue officer from the Coastguard's Bacton Team, said What3Words was being use more and more to find people who were injured or in danger.

Wells Lifeboat was able to find two people cut off by the tide at Stiffkey. The Coastguard located the pair using What3Words. Photo: RNLIWells Lifeboat was able to find two people cut off by the tide at Stiffkey. The Coastguard located the pair using What3Words. Photo: RNLI

Mr Revell said: "It's something all the emergency services have started to roll out.

"Even if the casualty hasn't got the app they can just tap on a link which will tell them where they are."

Mr Revell said the Coastguard has also used the app to locate a woman who had found herself stranded in water at Wroxham on New Year's Eve.

A Norfolk Fire and Rescue spokesman said they were also using the app, and it had helped in a number of rescues, and for honing in on the location of fires in remote locations.

An illlustration of What3Words honing in on the location of a field in Suffolk. Picture: What3WordsAn illlustration of What3Words honing in on the location of a field in Suffolk. Picture: What3Words

The spokesman said: "We launched our use of it in July 2019, which meant from that point we were in a position to receive What3Words calls from them if they use the app to inform us of their location when calling 999.

"This will prove invaluable in locating forestry and field fires, incidents in rural locations and both water and animal rescues."

MORE: Pilot who got into difficulty in rural Norfolk uses app to alert emergency services to their location

Peter Rainsford, chairman of Wells Lifeboat, which carried out the Stiffkey rescue, said they hadn't started using the app, but were interested in learning more about it.

What3Words is being used by ever more emergency services. Picture: What3WordsWhat3Words is being used by ever more emergency services. Picture: What3Words

Mr Raisnsford said: "Locating casualties has always been one of our biggest concerns.

"With a mobile phone you can call somebody up but you don't necessarily know where you are. "So to be able to locate your position accurately is very useful.

"On the boats we have direction-finding equipment and we can hone into equipment on a radio. That's simple technology that works extremely well but it doesn't work with mobile phones."

Your three-word location code can be found by searching for this address on a service such as Google, if your location is enabled: uk.w3w.co.

The pair was rescued after getting cut off by the tide at Stiffkey Marshes. Picture: Martin SizelandThe pair was rescued after getting cut off by the tide at Stiffkey Marshes. Picture: Martin Sizeland

An illustration of Cromer Pier, with one of the What3Words squares highlighted. Picture: What3WordsAn illustration of Cromer Pier, with one of the What3Words squares highlighted. Picture: What3Words

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