what3words announces partnership with South African emergency service provider

Geo-location technology company, what3words announced on Monday, 19 August 2019, that it’s partnering with South African emergency response service, ER24. The collaboration aims to enable faster response times in case of an incident.

what3words has divided the world into 3m squares and given each one a unique address using just 3 words — for example if you were looking for the Nelson Mandela statue at Sandton City, the what3words address is ///triangle.deal.waiters. 

In South Africa, what3words can be particularly effective for emergencies in informal settlements, farms, beaches or even the coastline where it can be complex, imprecise and difficult to communicate location without any addresses or points of reference. 

And even in a well-addressed town or city, the person in distress may not be familiar with their surroundings, or able to share a location with accuracy – for example, the description ‘near Moses Mabhida Stadium’ will not help get emergency services to get to the right place. 

Using a what3words address in an emergency gives callers a simple way to describe precisely where they need help, and allow ER24 to get resources straight to the scene.

“Some of the informal settlements we get called out to do not have street names. Usually, someone will meet us at a particular landmark and show us how to get from there. But, having an application that will be able to take us to the exact spot will curb having to drive up and down a road in search of the scene. It will make a change to our response times and make our jobs a little easier too,” says Jaco Kaalsen, member of ER24 Bloemfontein.

Ben Johnson, ER24’s CEO says, “As the premier private emergency medical care provider in South Africa, we value technology and innovation and therefore we continue to strive to stay ahead of the curve. We are pleased to be the first private emergency medical service in South Africa to partner with what3words”.

“The partnership with what3words will help emergency medical services, such as ER24, to locate people where physical addresses are not always possible. In an emergency, getting accurate information about the location is crucial, and by offering one more way to share your location we continue to put our patients first.”

“We want to ensure that ER24 alongside what3words are giving people even more ways to get real help, real fast,” adds Johnson.  

Download the what3words app for free for both iOS and Android, available in 36 languages including isiZulu, Afrikaans and isiXhosa.

Edited by Jenna Cook

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