By Jessica Mathews /

Livingston County residents can now download a new mobile safety app that officials say enables a more effective emergency response by law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services.

The new “what3words” app is a free service that provides more precise location information to 911 centers when help is requested by a caller. While knowing your location is always the best practice, it’s not always possible and officials say the new technology allows responders to be dispatched to a caller’s location quickly.

Livingston County 911 Director Chad Chewning says the what3words technology can save critical time in an emergency when seconds can be the difference between life and death. He noted that mobile phones do not provide a physical address to 911 when someone is not at a residence or business. He said in situations that occur when hiking, hunting, or on a lake where there are no signs telling you where you are, the what3words technology can locate someone more precisely than before. Chewning said “when time is of the essence and you are not sure where you are, this will help us get help to you faster. It reduces stress on the callers and the public safety responders, and allows 911 more time to provide pre-arrival care instructions and address potential on-scene safety issues.”

It works by either using the pre-downloaded app on someone’s smart device when they call 911 or having Livingston County’s 911 Central Dispatch send someone a text message with a link to click that gives assigned words of someone’s location that they can then provide to 911. Central Dispatch then has the ability to pinpoint someone’s location down to a 10 feet by 10 feet square using the GPS location information on their smart device.

The new app is available to all individuals from any smart device’s app store. Residents can customize their profile and share any information they want 911 and response teams to have in the event of an emergency. All information in the Safety Profile is said to be private and secure and seen only when a citizen dials 911. The application has been credited with positively impacting emergency outcomes including locating missing children, a missing hiker in the mountains, and a lost boater on a large body of water.

More information is available in the attached press release. Photo credit: