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Kingston Police encourage use of life-saving what3words app this winter

Release Date: December 7, 2023


Kingston Police are urging members of the public to download the free what3words app ahead of the festive period, to help us find you in an emergency.


This week Kingston Police are joining public safety teams across the country to raise awareness of the free what3words app and how it can be effectively used in emergency situations. Kingston Police have been utilizing the what3words app since October 2020, and around the world the technology has been used by emergency response teams for everything from reporting floods and rescuing pets, to locating injured hikers, snowmobiles and stranded drivers.


“Where is the emergency?” is one of the first questions asked when calling 911, but describing exactly where you are can be difficult, especially in unfamiliar areas or places without street addresses, such as large parks, busy Christmas markets or spots on a highway. Emergency communications centers often cannot automatically detect a caller’s precise location and can spend precious time and resources just trying to identify where help is needed - which can be particularly dangerous in colder winter months.


what3words provides a simple solution. It has divided the world into a grid of 10ft x 10ft squares and has given each square a unique combination of three words, known as a what3words address. This means that every park bench, start of a hiking trail, entrance to a large arena and front door has its own what3words address. For example, the three words assigned to the area of the front entrance of Kingston Police headquarters are “roving.softly.biked”. The app is free to download for both iOS and Android devices, and via the online map at The technology also works offline, making it ideal for use in areas with an unreliable data connection.


Teams from across the country have praised what3words’ innovative location technology for enabling call takers to dispatch resources to exactly where help is needed. Familiarizing yourself with the what3words app is one of the simplest actions the public can take to support emergency response teams this winter. The technology is available in 60 languages to date, including French Canadian, and can be used anywhere in the world. The system does not store or track users' location data, and there are no advertisements on the app or map.


Zama Jugar, Public Safety Lead at what3words commented: “what3words has been proven to save minutes when it matters most. This winter we’re encouraging everyone to familiarize themselves with the free app before heading out to busy festive events and seasonal activities, as preparedness is key and can make the world of a difference in an emergency situation.”


what3words is being adopted at pace by public safety teams across Canada, which is a testament to its ease of use and the results it provides – saving time and resources when it matters most. Control rooms around the world are utilizing the innovative technology as well, including in the UK, US, Australia, France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Singapore, India, Vietnam, Mongolia and South Africa. As well as using the app for emergencies, millions are using what3words to meet up with friends at parks and on beaches, to share great running and hiking locations, and to find each other at busy events such as sports games and festivals.

Contact Us

Kingston Police
705 Division Street
Kingston, Ontario
K7K 4C2

Telephone: 613-549-4660
TTY (hearing impaired): 613-549-8792
Administration Fax: 613-549-3111
Operations Fax: 613-549-7111

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