A SMARTPHONE app, which has been developed to help the emergency services locate an injured person, has been described as essential in the saving of lives in remote parts of the region.

The recently-developed What3words app, which does not require an internet connection, has been adopted by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance for use in live-saving missions.

People in remote parts of North Yorkshire requiring urgent medical help are being encouraged to download and use the What3words app, which generates a three-word address based on the person’s mobile phone GPS.

It is thought the three-word address will save vital time, which would have otherwise been spent by patients trying to identify well-known landmarks, or street names.

Matt Syrat, clinical operations manager at the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, said access to rural areas across North Yorkshire can often be delayed when patient's, unfamiliar with the area, can not locate themselves.

He said: "There’s a lot of rural areas and less identifiable roads in Yorkshire and if a person cannot distinguish where they are, it can delay the time it takes for emergency services to reach the incident.

"This new system enables us to pinpoint a nearly exact location of the casualty using the three words given to us by the call taker and we can dispatch immediately."

Mr Syrat said the app has already been used successfully in incidents involving walkers in remote areas and in road traffic accidents.

The ambulance service operates two helicopters from its sites at RAF Topcliffe, near Thirsk and Nostell Priory, near Wakefield in West Yorkshire at a cost of around £4.4m per year.

But it's thought the increased use of the app will save response time.

Mr Syrat said: "The What3words app will be invaluable to saving lives, especially in remote areas of Yorkshire.”

In August, three people from Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, attempted a walk in Hamsterley Forest but lost track of their route and became "concerned."

Jess Tinsley, Kieran Parkinson and Dan Curry believed they were following a marked trail, but without a mobile phone signal, later realised they were following a 12-mile route.

In a panic, one of the members used the What3words app to help the police identify their location for help.

A call handler was able to identify the walkers' location before the rescue team was able to locate their exact position deep within the forest.