- The Met Office confirms last month was the driest May on record
- Services urge public to be vigilant about lighting barbeques and campfires
- If you see a fire, dial 999 and use the what3words app to give your accurate what3words address
As the Met Office confirms last month was the driest May on record, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is urging the public to download the free what3words app, whilst remaining particularly vigilant during the hot weather. If a caller witnesses a fire, and is unable to describe precisely where it is, they can provide their what3words address, which is accurate to 3m.
Up and down the country fire and rescue services are urging the public to be particularly careful during the current hot weather after an increase in the number of grass fires, many of which are believed to have been caused by the improper use of barbecues and camp fires left - often in rural locations or large open spaces like parks, where it's difficult to describe exactly where they are. This coincides with an increase in people flocking to the countryside, beaches and beauty spots, which are often-off-the-beaten-track and have no address. As the ground is exceptionally dry, fires are starting more easily and spreading faster.
what3words, available on both iOS and Android devices, has divided the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares and labelled each one with three dictionary words: a what3words address. For example, Super. Ultra. Enhancement would take you to the peak of Snowdon.
Paul Scott, Senior Fire Safety Manager for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The dry weather we have experienced has meant we have been called out to a number of grass and gorse fires, tying up crews for hours at a time when we are looking to reduce demand on our firefighters.
“This app can reduce the amount of time spent pinpointing the location of a fire, allowing crews to get to work to tackle the fire before it spreads.
“It’s great to see new technology being developed which is accessible for most of us and can really make a big difference in times of need.
“We would also of course appeal to the public to help ensure fires to not start in the first place – we’re asking people not to undertake burning at this current time, and as always we’d appeal to everyone to take care when using barbecues or when they are out and about walking in the countryside.”
Chris Sheldrick, CEO of what3words adds, ‘In an emergency, every second is crucial. Time wasted trying to explain where a fire is - whilst it is spreading rapidly - endangers the people around it, causes extensive damage to our natural environment and take-crews away from other life-threatening emergency call-outs. By having what3words to hand, the public is able to say precisely where they are in a matter of seconds.’
what3words is used by over 75% of emergency services across the UK, with thousands of callers having provided a what3words address last year during a 999 call.