PEOPLE have been urged to download a lifesaving app after firefighters had to conduct a search for a caller before rescuing her dog from a swollen river.

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) dispatched three appliances when contacted by a distraught dog owner whose Golden Retriever had fallen into the River Browney, near Langley Park. But the owner was unfamiliar with the area and could not tell them exactly where she was.

While the dog Oscar was none the worse for his ordeal, firefighters say the what3words app would have sped up their response time.

CDDFRS northern divisional manager, Paul Cummings, said: “Our control room received a call from a woman, who was quite new to the area and was walking her dog, Oscar, near Langley Park when he slipped down a steep bank into the River Browney at noon on Thursday.

“We have had quite a bit of rain and the river was quite swollen and fast flowing. Oscar got caught on a tree branch and couldn’t get out of the river.

“The owner was obviously quite upset and didn’t know where she was.”

“We mobilised crews from our stations at Consett, Durham and Bishop Auckland who have specialist rescue knowledge and equipment.

“On arrival, because they weren’t sure where she was, we first had to search upstream and downstream from her last known a point until we found her.

“The crews used specialist equipment before going into the river rescuing the Oscar., so it was a happy ending. “ Mr Cummings said: “Oscar was fine, so it was a happy ending. We would like to take this opportunity to urge anyone who walks in remote areas especially dog walkers to download the what3words app.

“So, if they do get into difficulty, we can contact our control and they can use the information from that app to help any emergency services in locating them. It speeds up the time for us to reach and find them.”

The dog owner has now downloaded the app.

What3words which splits the world into a grid of 3 metre by 3 metre squares, each assigned with three unique words, to give people a simple way of referring to a specific location.

The app has been instrumental in helping numerous rescues.

Find the app in the app store or for more information visit