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App helping to get air ambulance to patients faster

App helping to get air ambulance to patients faster

Published by Dan Gooding at 3:30pm 9th August 2019.

Buckinghamshire's air ambulance service is using a new app to get to patients faster.

TVAA are using the what3words app, which attaches three unique words to a grid reference that can then be used by callers who need the air ambulance.

The emergency medical provider has integrated with the technology as it can precisely say where a patient is if they are in a remote area or somewhere with no obvious address or landmarks. The charity is the first air ambulance in the UK to use the app.

To give critically ill or severely injured patients the best possible chance of survival they need to be assessed, treated and given hospital-level care as urgently as possible.

If a patient is in an area that is difficult to accurately locate, there could be a delay in receiving emergency medical care. 

More than a third of all incidents that Thames Valley Air Ambulance attend are in rural areas, including situations involving horse riders, cyclists and agricultural machinery.

It can also be difficult to locate people involved in serious road traffic collisions. This could be because the road name may not be clear, or it covers many miles without a visual reference. 

Thames Valley Air Ambulance's Critical Care Paramedic, Kurtis Poole commented:

"Accurately locating a patient is one of the most important parts of an emergency call. Without it we can't provide any response. It's not uncommon for people to not know their specific location. I once took a call from somebody who had found a severely injured horse rider.

"With no phone signal the caller had to run back to their house to use a landline and was unable to provide a specific location.

"We dispatched our crew to their house, but they still had to direct us to the patient's location. In these situations, what3words can describe exactly where our help is needed, making sure we get our crew there as quickly and directly as possible."

Thames Valley Air Ambulance what3words

what3words has divided the entire world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares and assigned each square its own unique three-word address that will never change.

For example, Thames Valley Air Ambulance's offices in Buckinghamshire can be located using the words ///concluded.micro.yesterday.  

In an emergency, people can discover the three words for their current location by simply opening the free what3words app, pressing the current location button and reading 3 words off their phone screen.

Kurtis added:

"what3words is an incredibly simple way for 999 callers to describe their location, rather than using traditional methods such as passing grid references which is a long process and can be prone to errors.

"The free app works offline so the caller can find the three-word address with or without a data connection.

"We urge you and your loved ones to download the what3words app to save us time in reaching you should you ever need our advanced medical care. It could be the difference between life and death when minutes really matter."

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