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East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service logo

A water rescue & what3words- Stay safe this Bank Holiday

Date : 01 April 2021


Following on from a water rescue yesterday, we are urging everyone to stay safe when out and about near water this Bank Holiday weekend. 

At 19:07, we were called to carry out a rescue from water in Robertsbridge.  One person had fallen down a 15ft bank into water.  Luckily, a friend called 999 and was instructed by our Control Team to download the what3words app.  This app helps pinpoint everyone’s exact location and downloading it can help speed up our response especially if people don’t know where they are or it is difficult to describe.

Callers are able to give their three word 'address' and these three words can then be used to identify the precise location and direct resource to exactly where it is required.

It is particularly helpful in large open areas such as the Ashdown Forest or the South Downs.

Firefighters from Battle, Hastings and Burwash attended.  Crews used dry suits to wade out to the casualty who was promptly rescued and first aid was administered at the scene. 

A big thank you to our Control Team who received the call and used their initiative by asking the caller to download what3words. 

About what3words

what3words is a really simple way to talk about location.  what3words have assigned each 3m square in the world a unique 3 word address that will never change.  

People can use the what3words application to find their tents at festivals, navigate to B&Bs and vitally, direct emergency services to the right place.

To find out more about the ‘what3words’ app and to download it to your iphone or android device visit: https://what3words.com/products/what3words-app/ 

Water safety

Don’t assume you’re not at risk of drowning because you don’t intend to go into the water.

Every year on average around 400 lives are lost in the UK’s waters – more than one a day – and they’re not just confined to the beach and coast. People who enjoy running or walking near water remain a very high-risk group of accidental drowning.  

Many coastal walking fatalities were alone at the time of the incident and runners are often distracted by their activity, which can result in not noticing the hazards. None of these drowning’s are inevitable – they simply don’t have to happen. 

Water safety tips near open water: 

  • Try to always walk or run with a friend 
  •  Always let someone know where you’re going.
  • Don't assume just because you have walked or run a route many times before it is still safe. 
  • Avoid walking or running near water in the dark
  • Make sure your walk or run is appropriate for your fitness level even if you are just taking a leisurely stroll
  • Consider joining a running or walking group
  • Be aware and take notice of any warning signs
  • When running or walking next to water, stay clear of the edges. Riverbanks and cliff edges may be unstable and give way - particularly after bad weather
  • Wear appropriate footwear and clothing - even if you are just going to stretch your legs
  • Take a fully charged mobile phone and check signal strength, know how to use it and who to call in an emergency (999 Fire or Coastguard depending on where you are)
  • Look out for trip or slip hazards - pay attention to your footing
  • Stick to proper pathways
  • Don't walk or run next to water if levels are high
  • Make sure you know exactly where you are - consider downloading the what3words app for a smartphone



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