Just three words in an emergency?

The free Emergency Plus smartphone app developed by Australia’s emergency services has now added ‘what3words’: Provided you have mobile coverage, you simply dial the emergency service and read out the three words provided for your location by the app. The words uniquely define your location within 3m accuracy and can reduce time and possible error reading out detailed coordinates to emergency operators.

But mobile network coverage can be very patchy. eg Walkers attempting to use their smartphones along WA’s 1000km Bibbulmun Track will find that more than 50% of key locations along the track, including many of the campsites, have nil to weak mobile signal (see Going Solo’s tabulation of mobile coverage along the Track). To be sure you will be able to get your location to emergency services if the need arises, don’t rely only on your phone; also invest in a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), especially if leading a group or walking solo.

Posted 8 Feb. 2021.


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