911 data show show breathing and wheezing calls dot Detroit

There were few places in the City of Detroit where Detroit EMS did not respond to a call related to breathing and wheezing problems between January 1, 2010 and August 26, 2012.  there were about six neighborhoods in the western portion of the city and six other neighborhoods throughout the city that exhibited a high frequency of breathing and wheezing-related EMS calls. Aside from these 12 areas, the majority of the city exhibited a fairly low frequency of breathing and wheezing related calls.

Breathing and wheezing problems can be brought on from asbestos, mold and moisture, Volatile Organic Compounds, carbon monoxide, and tobacco smoke, amongst other health issues. Asthma can also bring on breathing and wheezing problems; this was examined in an earlier Drawing Detroit post.

The information used in this post was collected and provided by the City of Detroit. It was analyzed as part of the ongoing efforts of the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative-Detroit to identify hazards and health challenges emerging from housing problems.  The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative-Detroit (GHHI) aims to reduce housing related health-risks through “comprehensive home-based assessments and interventions, public outreach and education, and local partnerships.” Three GHHI target areas—CLEARCorps’ North End and Crossman area, Osborn and Southwest–are examined in this post. Of these three, the Osborn neighborhood had the highest frequency of breathing/wheezing related calls, while the Southwest target area had lower frequencies. locations.

Please click all maps to enlarge them

The map above shows the frequency of all Detroit EMS calls about wheezing and difficulty breathing made between January 1, 2010 and August 26, 2012. Areas north of Michigan Avenue and east of Gratiot appear to have more challenges. One area with the highest frequency is just across the river from Belle Isle (306, 152, 202). There is also a string of Census tracts near downtown that have particularly high numbers of calls (Counts of 911 calls:202, 306, 330) .

The next six maps below show in more detail the distribution and frequency of calls made to the Detroit EMS regarding breathing and wheezing in the target areas for the Detroit Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI). For each area a dot map of locations (To preserve privacy, the precise addresses are not shown.) followed by a map shaded to reflect frequencies for Census tracts.

The CLEARCorps target area above is located in Detroit’s north end/central Woodward neighborhood; it is  bordered by Linwood (west), Webb/Woodland (north), I-75 (east), and  Grand Boulevard (south). In this target area, there was one Census tract neighborhood with the highest frequency of calls (167) and two with the second highest frequency rating (150 and 130). The remainder of the target area is comprised of locations with a lower frequency of calls.

The Osborn area has a high frequency of calls. This area, which is in the upper east side of the city, contains two Census tracts (with frequencies of 164 and 163) with a very high frequency of breathing/wheezing related calls. Almost every other tract in the Osborn neighborhood was in either either the second or third highest category for frequency of calls. The only exception was a Census tract in the middle of the area, which had a low frequency (38).

The Southwest target area has no tracts with the highest frequency of breathing/wheezing related calls, though some areas have over 100 calls. The entire area is shaded in the low and middle portion of the frequency spectrum.

Dealing with the challenges

The challenges identified in these maps are partly the result of exterior and interior hazards though age of residents or disease processes are also likely to explain part of these numbers. Outside the home, dust, pollution and pollen can create breathing problems. Inside the home, mold, insects, pets and smoke are among the most important risk factors. GHHI concentrates on removing these hazards from home to make them safe for vulnerable populations, typically children and the elderly.


Detroit EMS receives high number of burn calls associated with structure fires

From January 1, 2010 to August 26, 2012 there were about 400 calls received by the Detroit EMS related burns associated with structure fires. In that same time there were only 15 calls related to electrical fire burns.

This post exams the distribution and frequency to which Detroit EMS responded to burn related calls. In addition to showing the overall frequency and distribution of burn related EMS calls, this post also breaks down the calls by the following types:

•Burns related to structure fires: 394 calls
•Small Burns: 262 calls
•An adult with over 18 percent of his or her body covered in burns: 219 calls
•A child with over 10 percent of his or her body covered in burns: 94 calls
•Burns where a person was not alert: 56 calls
•A person with burns and difficulty breathing: 35 calls
•Burns related to electrical fires: 15 calls

This information was obtained and analyzed as part of the ongoing efforts of the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative-Detroit . While these calls presented in this post are not mutually exclusive, each call in the time frame presented was assigned to one of the above categories.

While this information was made available for GHHI purposes, the City of Detroit only publically presents information related to the number of fire calls responded to by the City of Detroit Fire Department for 2006 on their website. According to that data, in 2006 the fire department responded to 33,441 fires and 131,481 medical emergencies. According to the same website, there was an average of 47 people in the city who die each year from residential fire deaths.

The above map shows, by Census tract data, where Detroit EMS assisted burn victims, and the frequency at which they assisted, from January 10, 2010 to August 26, 2012. During this period, there were 1,075 burn calls throughout the city. While much of the City of Detroit was in the mid to low range (2-5 calls per Census tract) for the frequency of burn calls, there were several pockets that had high numbers of EMS calls, according to the legend. The dark green areas have the highest frequency of calls; these areas range from 9 to 12 calls. For the highest frequency areas there is no trend associated with where they are located in the city; there were 11 Census tract locations in the high frequency range. There was however a diagonal string of Census tract areas in the central/ south-central area of the city that had between 6 and 9 EMS burn calls from January 2010 to August 2012.

There were 21 Census tract locations where zero burn related calls were made to the Detroit EMS in this time frame; some of these locations include Palmer Park, Rouge Golf Course, Eliza Howell Park, and Belle Isle; all of which are parks/recreation areas in the city.

This map provides a different picture on where Detroit EMS responded to burn related situations. As mentioned above there is no trend to where the high frequency areas are located in the city, and areas with between 2 to 5 calls seemed to dominate the city.

The above seven maps are a breakdown of the EMS burn calls,  by dispatcher-assigned category, within the City of Detroit. Of the 1,075 total burn calls during this time, 394 were categorized as related to structure fires. The second highest frequency category was small burn related calls.

There were 15 calls to Detroit EMS between January 1, 2010 to August 26, 2012 for burns related to electrical fires, 35 calls related to a person having burns and difficulty breathing, and 56 where a person was burned and not alert. There were far fewer EMS calls in those three categories than EMS calls related to burns and structure fires (394), small burns (262) and children (94) and adults (219) with burns that covered a certain portion of their body.

When the total number of burn related calls were broken down in the seven categories the maps showed there were no clear geographic trends of concentration in certain areas of the city, per category.