How Firefighters Used an App to Find Two Missing Teens in Tennessee

by Madison Miller

Some tech-savvy firefighters were able to use a popular app to save the lives of two lost teenage girls.

The Murfreesboro Police Department responded to a 911 call from two teenage girls that were saying they were lost in Barfield Park.

What3words App Saves Lost Teenagers

While authorities eventually saved the day, authorities are claiming that things may have turned out very differently if it wasn’t for an app called What3words. The app has a unique way of identifying a person’s location. What3words divided the entire world into 3-meter squares and then identifies these specific locations using a combination of different three-letter words.

The app is used by millions. The official website claims it is “the easiest way to find and share
exact locations” and is “safer, more efficient and less frustrating” than other options out there.

According to People, the Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department searched the entire park tirelessly. They even used all-terrain vehicles, a drone, and infrared technology. Even with all that advanced technology, it was the app that ended up bringing the rescue team to the teens.

Eventually, a firefighter learned that one of the girls had What3words on her phone. After she shared her three words, firefighters were able to find their exact location and rescue the pair at 9:26 p.m.

“The use of the groundbreaking location technology what3words is being implemented in the Murfreesboro Emergency Communications Center soon. This is a valuable tool to aid 9-1-1 operators and first responders in locating anyone who finds themselves lost, injured, or in need of help in an unfamiliar location,” Murfreesboro Emergency Communications Director Seth Russell said to the news outlet.

The app could be the future of emergency tracking for firefighters and other emergency responders.

Find My Friends App Saves Life

As it turns out, this certainly isn’t the first time a location-sharing app saved someone’s life.

In 2019, a mom’s quick thinking and technology savvy ways allowed her to save her 17-year-old daughter. Catrina Alexander’s daughter was not answering texts or returning any calls. The mother then used the iPhone app called Find My Friends.

She went to the location it showed her daughter was at and realized she was trapped in a ditch 25 feet down. Alexander then called 911 to rescue her daughter.

“Having that location, if we didn’t have that, we would have never known where to look. I’m certain that that is what saved her life,” Alexander told WSOC-TV 9 in 2019.

Her daughter was taken to the hospital and was treated for a fractured neck and nerve damage to her arm. She was trapped there for seven hours and had started to lose hope of being found. Her location was tucked away, meaning authorities would have had a hard time locating her.

The app is often met with mixed reactions from teenagers since it takes away a sense of privacy and independence. However, in this case, it was a life or death difference.

“I want to share my message because teenagers need to hear it from me. If you had been through what I’ve been through, you would never say that you didn’t want that app,” the mother also said.