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What3words – the app that could save your life after a fall

Here in the UK, the police and other emergency services have been promoting the What3words app to enable you to tell them exactly where you are in an emergency. If you haven’t heard of this app, I’m going to tell you why it could be lifesaving, especially if suffering from a chronic autoimmune condition, limited mobility or other physical challenges as do many followers of this blog.

What3words is a mindblowingly simple but unbelievably useful tool where the creators have given every 3m x 3m square in the world a unique three word address. For example, ‘gather.flies.crate’ takes you to a square approximately on the centre spot of my beloved Norwich City FC at Carrow Road, Norwich. To give you an idea of just how powerfully accurate this is, this is just one of tens of 3 x 3m squares on one football pitch in the world, all uniquely identifiable. When you try the app and start playing with it, I assure you it will blow your mind!

Don’t ask me how that works, it feels like there isn’t enough words to cover every 3 x 3m square on the planet but the developers of this system have done it and by now, you have probably already jumped ahead of me and seen the massive value and potential for this as more and more emergency services, care providers, family members etc. familiarise themselves with this service.

Imagine you are out walking the dog in isolated fields and fall into a ditch or break your leg, imagine being in a car accident but have no idea what two towns you were in between at the time or there’s been an accident on a mile-long beach and you want to tell the lifeguard exactly where you are – now you can. Simply open the app, use the dedicated button to see your current location and tell the person on the other end of the phone your three word location provided by the What3words app and they will know within a 3 x 3m area exactly where you are! You could also, of course, just use it to find your tent at a festival, meet up with friends or remember where you parked your car at the mall. 🙂

To put the level of accuracy into context, my modest 3 bedroom home with small garden, is covered by over 20 unique squares (fully or partially).

I would therefore encourage everyone to download the app onto your phone (especially if you have a chronic illness) and encourage your local health and emergency services to start familiarising themselves with the app. It could save somebody’s life.

Please see below for links to the software, which is completely free to use for personal use:


*Please note that I have not been paid to promote this app, will not receive any money from this blog post and views expressed here are purely my own for what I believe will be for the benefit of my audience. This is not an advertisement.

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About the author

Joel Nelson

Joel Nelson

Joel has lived with numerous forms of arthritis most of his life, with the onset when he was just 11 years old. In 2019, Joel created his blog, JoelvsArthritis to share his experiences, raise awareness and to be an advocate for those with arthritis and other autoimmune conditions. In his short writing career, Joel has written for a number of leading autoimmune and disability charities and is a community advocate and writer for Psoriatic-Arthritis.com. Read his arthritis story here: https://joelvsarthritis.co.uk/my-story

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