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McDowell County is now RapidSOS and What3words Ready!

Updated: May 15, 2023

~ from Marilyn Augustine

McDowell County Emergency Management Officials have reported that McDowell County is now a partner with RapidSOS. RapidSOS is an emergency response data platform that securely links lifesaving data to 911 call centers and emergency responders. It provides 911 operators with access to accurate caller location and additional information. You can become RapidSOS Ready by signing up for a free Emergency Health Profile at RapidSOS will automatically send your profile to the 911 call center to provide first responders with critical information they may need to care for you in a medical emergency.

RapidSOS is integrated with What3words. What3words is a geographical coding system that has used GPS coordinates to map the earth’s surface, both land and water, into 10 feet by 10 feet squares to which three random words have been assigned as a unique location address. Rather than needing to cite GPS coordinates, this three-word address provides a simpler means to identify and share an exact location.

What3words is free to use via an app for iOS and Android or the online map at The system works offline, making it ideal for use in areas with an unreliable data connection. If you have an emergency simply use the app to advise the call center of the three words identifying your location. If you haven’t downloaded the app, the 911 call center can text you a link to What3words. Once you click on the link, you will see the three words connected with your location. You can then convey those words to the 911 call center. In either case, the reported three words will identify your location so that first responders may be guided to that location as quickly as possible.

In an emergency, identifying precisely where help is needed is critical. Bottomline, What3words provides an easy way to communicate a location in our environment of mountain roads, hiking trails and wooded areas where there may be no address, or it may be difficult to describe the location of the emergency.

So, what does a What3words address look like? As an illustration, near the top of Creston’s Spring Trail by the mail kiosk, the three words that displayed were: glam.takes.casual, while moving a short distance along the trail, pouts.eyeglass.drives were displayed and then moving another short distance, canyons.blandly.tent. Three random words, all easily conveyed, that in an emergency could save your life.

Consider being prepared by creating a RapidSOS profile and downloading What3words.

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