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Saving Time – A Joint SCAA/NFU Scotland Initiative Introduction One of the most important pieces of information contained in a 999 call to the emergency services is the location of the incident. This information could enable the emergency services to reach the scene quickly and save time in getting help to a patient and/or getting a patient to hospital. This straightforward initiative helps those working outdoors to know where they are in relation to obvious landmarks and in turn could get help to them quickly in the event of an emergency. This document shows how farmers, land owners, gamekeepers and many others could establish a network of reference points across their land which could be used to assist the emergency services to locate them in an emergency. The network would be useful for air ambulance crews to locate an emergency incident, but is just as relevant to any other elements of the emergency services. However, there are other factors which affect helicopters, such as weather, so an air ambulance response is not guaranteed. How it Works The model was presented to farmers in Highland Perthshire who then participated in a workshop to establish a fictitious network of reference points around Aberfeldy. Farmers know their land better than anyone. At the workshop they swiftly identified a series of easily identifiable reference points, established the grid references for them and were shown how to produce a card which showed the information. The workshop went well and the audience was very receptive to this idea and wanted it to be developed into a model across Scotland. The model enables information about an incident location to be available before an emergency call is made and comprises the following steps:    

Identify the reference points Establish the grid references of the reference points Construct the Reference Card. How to use the Reference Points.

The steps are explained and expanded below. Identify the Reference Points Reference points should be: 

Easily identifiable from the ground and air – ideally they should be unique and have vertical extent, but this may not be possible in all cases. Prominent hills, radio masts, water features, bridges, roundabouts, churches or road features would be good examples. Known to the person who is likely to make an emergency call.

Grid Squares. Each prefixed grid square is further broken down into 10km by 10km squares which are shown on a 1:50,000 scale Ordnance Survey Landranger map. The squares are numbered vertically and horizontally and originate in the lower left corner of each square. The horizontal numbers are known as Eastings and the vertical numbers are known as Northings. To take a grid reference state the prefix followed by the Easting (in the door), then the Northing (up the stairs). For example, in the diagram below ‘x’ is in grid square NN86. Remember: in the door; up the stairs.

9 8

(up the stairs)



7 6


5 4 3 2 1 0









EASTINGS (in the door)



Diagram 3: 100km by 100km Grid Square

NN86 identifies ‘x’ within a 10km by 10km grid square. Each of these grid squares is further divided into 1km by 1km squares and this is shown as the grid overlay on a Landranger map. Therefore ‘x’ lies within grid square NN8866

69 68 N O R T H I N G S



66 65


64 63 62 61 60 80











Diagram 4: 10km by 10km Grid Squares

Then insert the grid references into the Reference Card.

Reference Points 1

River Bridge

Grid: NN851493



Grid: NN850483



Grid: NN877486



Grid: NN883459



Grid: NN856458

Diagram 6: Completed Reference Card

You have now constructed your Reference Card and you could display it on the reverse of your mobile phone, vehicle dashboard, wallet, next to your landline telephone and many other useful places so it would be available if you needed to make an emergency call. How to use the Reference Points In an emergency you may not be able to work out your precise grid reference, but you may know where you are relative to one of your Reference Points. It is also useful to first give a general indication of where you are, then a more specific one relative to one of your Reference Points. Here is an example of how to use them in an emergency call: ‘The accident is on the main A826 road to the south-east of Aberfeldy. It is approx. 1km south of the mast at Grid NN877486’ Another example could be: ‘The emergency has taken place on the north side of the river to the west of Aberfeldy. It is approx. 500 metres south west of the river bridge at Grid NN851493.’ Your knowledge of the system may be confirmed by you finding where these two fictitious incidents are located on the map above. You are now ready to use the Reference Card, why not have a practice amongst your staff or family? There are a number of iPhone and iPad applications which can be used to get accurate grid references – Grid Point UK for example – but is best to cross-check any grid reference with a map.

Saving Time 2015  

Saving Time

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