KITCHENER -- Waterloo Regional Police have started using a new app to locate people who call 911.

The location technology app is called "what3words".

It’s available to the police communications centre and can help first responders find people faster and more precisely in an emergency.

The app is free to download to a mobile device. Police say it works offline, so it will still work in rural areas that may have a poor internet connection.

Officials say “what3words” uses a global address system to map out every three-metre square in the world, giving it a unique combination of three words. When someone calls 911, they can open the app on their phone and read the unique three-word combination to the person taking their call to give a precise location.

"Our Communications Centre receives approximately 900 to 1,000 emergency calls per day,” Staff-Sgt. Kathy Black with the WRPS Communications Branch said in a news release. “If we are able to locate someone in need faster and send help, we will have more time to help the next person who needs us.”

Regional police are encouraging the public to download the app. If they don't have it installed and call 911, police say they will send them a link they can open on their phones in order to read the three words to the dispatcher.

The app can be downloaded on iOS and Android.