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Did Fine Particulate Matter from the Summer 2016 Landscape Fires in Tasmania Increase Emergency Ambulance Dispatches? A Case Crossover Analysis

1
Population Health Services, Department of Health, Hobart, TAS 7000, Australia
2
National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
3
Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS 7000, Australia
4
School of Natural Sciences, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS 7000, Australia
5
University Centre for Rural Health—North Coast, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
6
Centre for Air pollution, Energy and Health Research and Evaluation, Glebe, NSW 2037, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 13 July 2018 / Accepted: 13 July 2018 / Published: 24 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extreme Fire Events, Ecosystem Resilience, and Human Well-Being)
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Abstract

During summer in early 2016, over 70 landscape fires in Tasmania (Australia) caused several severe episodes of fire smoke across the island state. To assess the health impact of the fire smoke, a case crossover analysis was performed, which measured the association between increased concentrations of PM2.5 and emergency ambulance dispatches (EAD) from 1 January to 31 March 2016. Control days were matched by latitude and longitude, day of the week and calendar month. Exposure data were obtained from air quality monitoring stations at lag times of 1–48 h and for the 24-h mean on the same day and 1-day lag. Positive associations were observed between an increase of 10 µg/m3 in PM2.5 and EAD for stroke on the same day (OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.02–1.19) and at 1-day lag (OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.02–1.18). Furthermore, there were non-significant increases in breathing problems (OR 1.04, 95% CI 1.00–1.08) and diabetic problems (OR 1.11, 95% CI 0.99–1.22) at 1-day lag. The EAD for all causes were not increased. These findings will be used for ambulance service planning and public health risk communication in future landscape fire events. View Full-Text
Keywords: particulate matter; landscape fire smoke; emergency ambulance dispatches particulate matter; landscape fire smoke; emergency ambulance dispatches
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Edwards, L.J.; Williamson, G.; Williams, S.A.; Veitch, M.G.K.; Salimi, F.; Johnston, F.H. Did Fine Particulate Matter from the Summer 2016 Landscape Fires in Tasmania Increase Emergency Ambulance Dispatches? A Case Crossover Analysis. Fire 2018, 1, 26.

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