Examining fire department injury data as a tool for epidemiological investigation

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Residential fires, while constituting a small fraction of fire incidents, are responsible for the majority of civilian fire-related injuries. This study investigates census tract neighborhood socioeconomic factors as correlates of civilian injuries occurring during residential fires in Baltimore, Maryland, between 2004 and 2007. Civilian residential fire related injuries were geocoded and linked to the American Community Survey 2005-2009 data. Negative binomial regression was used to analyze the relationship between fire-injury rates and neighborhood socioeconomic indicators including household income and percentages of households below the poverty line, persons aged 25 years or older with at least a bachelor's degree, homes built in 1939 or earlier, vacant properties, and owner-occupied homes. Between January 2004 and July 2007, there were 482 civilian fire-related injuries that occurred during 309 fires. At the census tract level, a 10% increase in the number of vacant homes was associated with an increase in injury rates by a factor of 1.28 (95% confidence interval 1.05-1.55). A 10% increase in persons aged more than 25 years with at least a bachelor's degree was associated with a decrease in injury rates by a factor of 0.86 (95% confidence interval 0.77-0.96). Neighborhood measures of education and housing age proved good indicators for identifying areas with a higher burden of fire-related injuries. Such analyses can be useful for fire department planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-314
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 28 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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