High-tech app helps rescue cow

Cow rescue Thorney 14 April 2019

Firefighters rescued a cow from the River Nene in Thorney on Sunday, using a new mobile phone app to locate the farmer and the stranded animal.

The ‘app’ called what3words is accurate to three metres and still works in areas where there isn’t a reliable data signal.

To help crews get to the right location along the river near Old Knarr Fen Drove, Fire Control used the location app to pinpoint the caller and the calf. The location was relayed to crews to ensure they arrived in the correct location as quickly as possible.

Crews from Dogsthorpe, Stanground and Wisbech arrived to find a calf stuck on the riverbank. Working alongside the farmer, firefighters wearing in-water gear, secured the calf using strops, a winch and teleporter.

The calf was released and left in the care on the farmer and a vet.

The app is free to download and works with both iOS and Android phones and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue is keen for more people to use it.

Station Commander (Control) Clare Smith commented, “Our emergency call handlers are now able to respond to calls where a three-word address is used.

“The new way of identifying precise locations complements the systems we already have in place and can save time when mobilising crews to incidents, where every second counts.

“What3words is a great app and is definitely worth having on your devices, should you ever need it in an emergency.

“Emergencies can happen anywhere, from a road collision in the middle of the countryside, to someone in trouble in a river, to an incident outside a shopping centre, which could have a number of different entrances. In these situations, identifying precisely where help is needed is critical – and this can be near impossible if you are in an area with no address or if that address isn’t good enough to describe exactly where you are.

“Even in a well-addressed town or city, if a caller is in distress they may not be familiar with their surroundings, or able to share a location with accuracy – for example, the description “near Cambridge” will not help emergency services to get to the right place.

“It’s free, it’s simple to use, and one day it might make sure you get the help you need, when you need it.”

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