A FIRE chief has urged residents to download an app that can be used to find their location in an emergency situation.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service (NWFRS) started to implement What3Words in August and has already put it to use to promptly locate a forest fire. The app, created by private developers in 2013, has a geo-coding system that generates three unique words assigned to the three square metre grid where the smartphone is located, which can then be sent to another app user.

Peter Davis, head of control at the joint communications centre in St Asaph, said NWFRS is joining emergency services across the UK in promoting the app because it can “really make a big difference in times of need”.

He said: “The smartphone user will identify from the app which three words are the unique identifier for the location and it is then possible for others to identify their location once these words are conveyed.”

“While this will not replace our current use of standard gazetteers and mapping it may help assist in those cases where all other methods of location have been exhausted.”

Mr Davis said NWFRS used the app “within a few weeks of going live” to pinpoint the map reference of a fire at Gwydr Forest, “ensuring that the correct appliance was mobilised to deal with the incident as quickly as possible”.

He added: “This is very useful for places that do not have a recognised address or for individuals that are lost or are unsure of their location.”