Lifestyle & Human Interest

Mother and Daughter Rescued After Accident Thanks to New Police Tool That Uses Just 3 Words


Weekend foggy earphones: those three seemingly unrelated words helped police locate a disoriented woman and her young daughter after their vehicle flipped into a ditch near Somerset, UK.

Valerie Hawkett, 33, was driving down a familiar road with her four-year-old daughter, Teagan, when she lost control of her vehicle on the slick, wet road.

“I was so disoriented after the crash that I didn’t know where I was,” Hawkett told The Telegraph.

“It’s a road I drive every week — but it was really wet weather. I was going round a really sharp bend, and I had slowed down, but I just lost control,” Hawkett said.

”The car fully took off from the road and went up and over a bush, and landed in a field.”

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Hawkett and Teagan were able to get out of the car, but had trouble explaining to police over the phone exactly where they were.

Police were unable to see Hawkett from the road, but were able to pinpoint her precise location thanks to a new geocoding system called what3words.

The technology works by dividing the entire world into 57 trillion squares, each square covering a 3m x 3m area and labeled with three unique words.

Police were able to send Hawkett a text message from what3words with a link that pinpointed exactly where she was. “Weekend foggy earphones” led police to Hawkett’s 3m x 3m square in the middle of nowhere.

“What3words is a really simple way to talk about location,” the website reads.

Each square has its own unique three-word address, which “means anyone can accurately find any location and share it more quickly, easily and with less ambiguity than any other system.”

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Sam Sheppard, with the Avon & Somerset Police, said the system has changed the way that first responders in the UK handle incidents when the location is unknown.

“We are moving away from the old style questioning, ‘Where have you come from?’, ‘Where are you going?’, ‘What can you see?’ etc,” Sheppard said.

“These questions take time and aren’t always that accurate. Asking for a three-word address or sending an SMS so they can easily provide their three-word address, has meant we have saved valuable time locating incidents.”

Hawkett and Teagan are thankful for the new system, and are possibly the first people to be rescued because of it.

”I could have been in that field all day if it hadn’t been for the three-word location,” Hawkett said.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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Lifestyle & Human Interest