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Toronto Police Service joins national week of action to help 9-1-1 callers #KnowExactlyWhere in an emergency with what3words

Broadcast time: 09:30
Date: Monday, October 4, 2021
Unit: Communications Services
Phone: 416-808-

This week TPS is taking part in the #KnowExactlyWhere safety campaign to raise awareness of the free what3words app and how it can be effectively used in an emergency to save time, resources, and in some cases, lives.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, many people will be travelling or enjoying Toronto’s greenspaces and waterfront areas. Our Communications 9-1-1 Centre usually experiences a spike in calls over holidays and long weekends.

Identifying precisely where help is needed in an emergency is critical to getting resources to the scene quickly. This can be difficult in remote areas with no street address or obvious landmarks. Precious time and resources can be spent just trying to locate the person in need of help.

Using a what3words address gives callers a simple way to describe precisely where help is needed and emergency services can dispatch resources straight to the scene.

The app divides the world into a grid of 10-foot squares and each square is given a unique combination of three random words. For example in Toronto, Hanlan’s Point Beach can be found at ///fries.trooper.withdrew and The Bluffs in Scarborough at ///eyebrows.episodes.crass.

TPS has been utilizing the free service since May, 2021 and Coordinator, 9-1-1 Emergency Voice Services, Tracy Finn, says it’s been a valuable addition to their toolkit.

“In areas without clearly marked addresses like the waterfront, or hiking trails within greenspaces, it can be challenging for the 9-1-1 Communications Centre to locate a caller in an emergency to dispatch responders,” she said. “Utilizing the innovative what3words location technology has assisted and enabled communications operators to work with callers to know exactly where to dispatch resources when every second counts. We are encouraging everyone to download the free app.”

It should be noted that what3words is not a tracking app - TPS will only receive your location when you choose to provide your three words over the 9-1-1 call.

To find out more information about what3words and to download the app visit what3words.

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Ashling Murphy, Corporate Communications, for Communications Services