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MetroSafe 911 calls visualized

| Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In the first six months of the year, more Louisvillians have requested an ambulance as a result of falling than any other type of health problem or injury, according to a review of MetroSafe calls.

The call data, which were provided to Insider by Louisville Emergency Medical Services through a records request, reveal the top calls received by MetroSafe, the city’s 911 services and communications coordinator, from Jan. 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018.

Over one million calls were received by the dispatching agency and forwarded to the Louisville Metro Police Department, Louisville Fire Department, LEMS and suburban fire departments in that period.

Of those calls, over 725,000 were made in 2017, and about 365,000 calls were made in the first six months of 2018 — or almost exactly half the amount of calls in all of 2017.

An analysis of the data not only showed the most popular types of emergency calls that were placed, but the annualized sets also permitted year-over-year comparisons of some call types to discern how particular emergencies may trend to become more popular or less “popular” by the end of 2018.

The calls were divided by agency, and only the top 10 call-types per agency have been included in the following visualizations.


Table 1

Table 2

Between the two tables, none of the values deviate significantly from their counterparts, as all call amounts in 2018 are roughly half of the 2017 numbers. Nor do they suggest any striking gains or losses in any particular category.

Except for one: ShotSpotter. The acoustic listening devices placed around the city by LMPD to automatically detect gunshots appear to be gaining effectiveness, coverage, or both. The number of dispatches generated by the technology in all of 2017 amounted to 1,723. But as of June 30 this year, the number has already climbed to 1,422 — about 300 calls shy of the previous year’s total.

Other notable findings:

  • MetroSafe records show that in the first half of 2018, dispatchers passed along six calls regarding “immigration enforcement assistance” to LMPD. The city’s police department and the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency have a murky relationship, yet policy reforms enacted in late 2017 do not prevent the agency from requesting assistance from the LMPD, nor do they prohibit local police from responding to them.
  • LMPD received two calls reporting “terrorist activity” in 2018 and five calls in 2017, suggesting a decline this year.

LMPD spokeswoman Alicia Smiley told Insider she has forwarded questions about the immigration and terrorism calls to the department’s Analytic Crime Unit “for review and response.” The unit has not responded as of publication time.


Table 3

Table 4

Falls are just barely edging out the generalized “sick” dispatch descriptor for the top spot in medical calls in 2018.

The difficulty in analyzing EMS calls stems from a change in dispatch codes implemented last summer.

Mitchell Burmeister, executive director and information officer for Louisville Metro Emergency Services, said that the agency had consolidated and changed many of its medical codes in the middle of 2017, so a “1:1” comparison between years must be taken with extra caution.

Yet, as far as caution goes, Louisvillians do seem to on track to electrocute themselves at a higher rate this year: In 2017, 13 calls were made to EMS designated “electrocution.” In the first six months of 2018, the number is already 12.


Table 5

Table 6

The Louisville Fire Department appears to get a majority of calls requesting medical assistance, and has experienced a surge in the number of general medical calls in 2018 so far.

An uptick in the number of CPR calls also seems likely, given that in 2018 already, firefighters have responded to 448 of such calls compared to 558 in all of last year.

(Have a look through the data to see if more.)

MetroSafe is a subsidiary organization under Louisville Metro Emergency Services, and according to the website, its mission is to “provide high quality and compassionate emergency and nonemergency response to the citizens and visitors of Louisville Metro and its local, state and regional partners in order to achieve the most favorable outcomes for people, property and the environment.”

Part of an occasional series about data visualization. Here’s a look at traffic lights.

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