Changes in 911 call volume and type during Hurricane Ike and the implementation and usefulness of the TeleHealth Nurse system for the Houston Fire Department
This study examined both changing call volume and type with resulting effect of TeleHealth Nurse, the Houston Fire Department's (HFD) telephone nurse line, on call burden during Hurricane Ike. On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall in the Galveston area and continued north through Houston resulting in catastrophic damages in infrastructure and posing a public health threat. The overall goal of this study looked at data from Houston Fire Department to obtain a better understanding of the needs of citizens before, during, and after a hurricane. This study looked at four aspects of emergency response from HFD. The first section looked at call volumes surrounding the time of Hurricane Ike in 2008 compared to the same time period in 2007. The data showed a 12% increase in calls surrounding Hurricane Ike compared to previous years with a p value <.001. Next, the study evaluated the types of calls prevalent during Hurricane Ike compared to the same time period in 2007. The data showed a statistically significant increase in chronic health problems such as diabetes and cardiac events, Obstetric calls and an increase in breathing problems, falls, and lacerations during the days following Hurricane Ike. There was also a statistically significant increase in auto med alerts and check patients surrounding Hurricane Ike's landfall. The third section analyzed the change in call volume sent to HFD's Telephone Nurse Line during Hurricane Ike and compares this to earlier time periods while the fourth and final section looks at the types of calls sent to the nurse line during Hurricane Ike. The data showed limited use of the TeleHealth Nurse line before Hurricane Ike, but when the winds were at their strongest and ambulances were unable to leave the station, the nurse line was the only functioning medical help some people were able to receive. These studies bring a better understanding to the number and types of calls that a city might experience during a natural disaster, such as a hurricane. This study also shows the usefulness of an EMS Telephone Nurse Line during a natural disaster.
Cooper, Elise, "Changes in 911 call volume and type during Hurricane Ike and the implementation and usefulness of the TeleHealth Nurse system for the Houston Fire Department" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1497533.