A smartphone app helped firefighters rescue a trapped horse from a river earlier this month.

The public are now being urged to download the free app to help emergency services continue to rescue people and animals in need.

A passing member of the public alerted Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) to the horse in the River Stort in Harlow on 13 February.

The chestnut was two miles from the nearest road, but ECFRS’s control room team were able to quickly establish his exact location thanks to the what3words app.

Rescuers from Old Harlow and Great Baddow fire stations, Chelmsford Animal Rescue Unit and Urban Search and Rescue met at location ‘DISCREPANCY.LIBRARIAN.ANGEL’ and found the stricken equine.

“When we found the horse in the water, it was happily munching away at the grass [on the river bank] and our Animal Rescue Unit gave expert advice in the best way to rescue [him],” said Watch Manager Kirk Collins from Old Harlow Fire Station.

“We worked together to keep the horse calm and under control while leading it away to safety quickly before it trotted off unharmed.”

A spokesman for ECFRS said the horse had been “happily munching on grass with its equine friends” following the rescue.

Mr Collins and his colleagues are now urging the public to download what3words. The free app has divided the world into three metre squares and has given each square a unique combination of three words.

Emergency services have used the app to find and help people and animals in need, including many horses and riders.

“It much easier for us to find you in a remote location and in an emergency,” added Mr Collins.