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Vale of Glamorgan Coastline Launches What Three Words Signage Initiative

Markers utilizing the what3words system have been strategically positioned along the Vale Coastal Path in South Wales to expedite the location of lost walkers, casualties, missing individuals, or those in distress by emergency services.

what3words employs a three-word address system utilized in 170 countries worldwide, including by UK emergency services such as South Wales Police. By providing a what3words address when reporting an incident, individuals enable emergency services to swiftly pinpoint their precise location using these three designated words.

Image credit: https://www.nci.org.uk/content/vale-glamorgan-coastline-%E2%80%93-what3words-signage-initiative

Thanks to partnership work between South Wales Police, Glamorgan Heritage Coast, Vale of Glamorgan Council, National Coastwatch Institution, Coastguard & RNLI, markers are now attached to 25 wooden posts between Ogmore-by-Sea and Monknash. The project also has the support of local resident and ITV Wales television presenter Ruth Dodsworth.

PCSO Rhiannon Cummings, from Vale of Glamorgan Neighbourhood Policing Team, South Wales Police, said: “It can be very difficult for emergency services to locate casualties along the coastline due to the rugged and vast terrain.

“Being able to provide the what3words will allow people who need emergency assistance to be located quicker, especially in darkness hours when searching these areas can be dangerous.

“The National Police Air Service has advised that having access to this information and map of the posts will be invaluable when searching for people along the coastal area.”

Detective Inspector Ben Rowe, from Public Protection, South Wales Police, said: “As well as these signs bringing benefits to visitors in helping them navigate this stretch of coast, they also improve the ability of emergency services to locate an injured person quickly or know where to start looking for someone who is missing”.

Councillor Bronwen Brooks, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Places, Vale of Glamorgan Council said: “We are so pleased to be part of this project. The heritage coast attracts great numbers of visitors each year. It’s fantastic that technology like this can be used to improve their experience and help people enjoy the coastal paths safely.”

Phil Styles, General Secretary and Deputy Chair of National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) said: “On behalf of the National Coastwatch Institution Wales Region, I would like to congratulate you all on the simple yet very effect initiative of adding what3words markers to the coastal path signposts along the Vale of Glamorgan Coastal Path.

“Understanding exactly where someone is in times of an emergency or distress aids all the search and rescue teams to get the necessary help and equipment to that point quickly and efficiently.

“Often when people are in distress or find someone in distress they become confused which leads to inaccurate information, also on occasions they may not have any local knowledge of the area .

“Something simple like asking them to look at the coastal path signpost and read out the what3words marker can eliminate any confusion on the location and help to save lives.

“The two NCI stations at St Donat’s and Porthcawl are proud to be part of your multi agency forum.”

The  what3words app is free to download for both iOS and Android and works entirely offline – making it ideal for use in areas of the UK with an unreliable data connection, such as beaches, national parks and campsites.

what3words can also be used via the online map at what3words.com. The app is available in over 45 languages, including Welsh, and can be used anywhere in the world.

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