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Killingworth Ambulance Association Responded to More Calls, Fall Victims in 2021

Submitted by Clark Judge.

The number of emergency responses by the Killingworth Ambulance Association jumped dramatically in 2021, but the cause of those calls did not.

As was the case in 2020, victims of falls led all responses, followed by sick persons and individuals with breathing problems. Those were the same three (though not in that order) that led all calls in 2020 when the KAA responded to 370 emergencies.

So nothing different there.

But look at the number of calls compiled by the KAA. There were 496 in 2021, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. Now look at the number of fall victims. There were 117 in 2021, or 23.6 percent of the total. There were 71 last year, or 19.2 percent of the total, and 75 the year before.

That’s a 64.7 percent hike in one year, and one that’s not easy to explain.

“We didn’t pass on as many calls last year,” said Mike Haaga, the KAA’s chief of service, searching for an explanation, “so that made our call volume higher. Second, we did more mutual-aid calls to other towns. I don’t know if there was a COVID ‘rebound,’ where people weren’t calling the ambulance (in 2020) because of COVID and then thought it had subsided. But they may have been calling for more things.”

That might explain the number of calls for sick persons. That figure jumped from 36 in 2020 (9.7 percent) to 62 one year later, or 12.3 percent of the total. Breathing problems, however, did not increase. In fact, they were unchanged. Where there were 36 in 2020, there were 36 the following year.

What follows are the Top Five KAA calls for 2021:

  1. Fall victims … 117 (23.6)
  2. Sick persons …62 (12.3)
  3. Breathing problems … 36 (7.3)
  4. Chest pain … 26 (5.2)
  5. Altered mental status … 25 (5.0)

What’s intriguing about these figures is that, for the first time in years, traffic accidents didn’t make the Top Five. Instead, they were sixth with 25 responses, or 4.8 percent of the total.  In 2019, for example, they were second, with 35 calls (9.9 percent).

But that was before COVID arrived.

Here’s a comparison with the Top Five of 2020:

  1. Fall victims … 71 (19.2)
  2. Breathing problems …. 36 (9.7)
  3. Sick persons … 35 (9.5)
  4. Not entered … 32 (8.6)
  5. Traffic accidents … 25 (6.8)

Also of interest in 2021 were responses for unconscious persons or individuals who fainted. In 2020, there were only five. That number jumped to 12 one year later, or 2.4 percent of the total and one more than there were in 2019 (11).

KAA figures are kept annually, with calls recorded electronically on patient-care reports by EMTs on the scene.

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