In an emergency, at the pool or any other place on this planet, getting help to your location becomes a priority. How fast this happens often has a direct bearing on the outcome.

The easiest way to do that in Australia is via Triple Zero. In New Zealand it’s Triple One, the UK Triple Nine and in the US and Canada, even Homer Simpson can tell you it’s 911.

In a suburban area, usually a street address is all you need to get an ambulance to your door step. In rural and remote locations, it isn’t quite as simple.

Take my property for example. If you tell the Emergency Services Operator that you’re at 4501 New England Highway it isn’t very helpful. The New England Highway is 878 kms long. For rural addressing to be useful you also need to know the nearest cross street. Ours is 4.5 kms away.

As similar thing happened to me a few years ago on the F3 Freeway between Sydney and Newcastle. The F3 is a six lane, 110 km/h highway with bush on either side that looks pretty much the bloody same for 127kms.

I’d seen an accident and called Triple Zero. The problem was when she asked me where on the F3… I had no idea. In the next 15 minutes Emergency Services had multiple calls for the event and none able to give a location. In the ensuing chaos, they decided to call me back because I was the first caller. In that time, I’d been able to locate a marker and give them a proper location.

Add adrenaline to the mix and that all important first step to saving lives gets all the more complicated.

Fortunately, in Australia there’s a Government made app that makes it easy. Go to your favourite app store right now and search ‘Emergency Plus’. It’s a red tile with a white cross on it. If you don’t have this app on the home screen of your phone you are crazy.

Once installed it needs access to your location and phone service. Then it’s a simple as opening it. It will then display some call options for emergency services, your address on a map and more importantly a latitude and longitude, commonly called a Lat & Long.

I don’t have room to give you a mapping lesson here but James Cook was a guru at this stuff. If an Emergency Services Operator asks you where you are and you say; ‘Can I give you a Lat & Long?’, they’re probably going to lean through the phone and kiss you.

What happens at an emergency in the first hour is crucial. You’ll often hear reference to the Golden Hour. For CPR it’s minutes. If you’re a long way from anywhere, getting help can take longer. Fortunately, in first world countries we have aero medical services. They’re fast and efficient and they don’t like street addresses. They won’t leave the ground until they have a Lat & Long.

Install Emergency Plus on your phone now and use it whenever you need to call Triple Zero.

Could you use any GPS app? Sure you could, just make sure that if you’re in the southern hemisphere the coordinate the app displays for the latitude has a minus sign in front of it.

If you guys in New Zealand, the UK, Canada or the US have a similar app I’d love you to leave it in the comments section below.