Members of the Orillia OPP recently utilized the What3words app, a geocode mapping system, to help locate and rescue an injured snowmobiler.
On January 8, 2021, shortly before 5 p.m., officers responded to an emergency call for an injured snowmobiler who had been involved in a collision on Lake Couchiching. The driver was unable to say exactly where he was and responding emergency personnel were slowed in their efforts to locate the injured male. This is where technology comes into play. Staff at the OPP Provincial Communications Centre (PCC) were able to employ What3words by texting a link to the app to the driver, who then used it to pinpoint his location which was encoded by the app into a unique set of three words. Those three words were then communicated back to the PCC, from which staff were then able to direct emergency personnel to the collision site. The driver was subsequently located and transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The use of What3Words is an example of how the OPP is modernizing its police service and utilizing technology to enhance public safety and support successful outcomes by decreasing response times to high priority calls in which the caller does not know their exact location.