Background After several years of decreasing injury rates, in 2010, there began an upward injury fatality trend in Kentucky fueled largely by increases in accidental drug overdose and suicide. In 2012, Kentucky’s age-adjusted injury fatality rate had increased from 76.1 in 2010 to 81.8 per 100,000 population.
Description of the problem The state has 120 counties and a total population of 4.4 million. Numerous agencies are charged with injury prevention, however there is a lack of coordination and local injury data, making prevention efforts fragmented and inefficient. We adopted the Safe Communities model as a way to address rising injury rates. The Safe Community model originated with the World Health Organisation’s Collaborating Centre on Community Safety Promotion’s Karolinska Institute.
Results In 2012, the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Resource Centre (KIPRC), Kentucky’s lead injury prevention agency, became a Safe Community Affiliate Support Centre and entered into a partnership with the National Safety Council (NSC) and Safe Communities America with the following five year goals: (1) half the population of the state living within a Safe Community, (2) assist with local prevention planning and, (3) develop local data reports. As of July 2015, there are 8 communities certified or in process, holding nearly 40% of the state’s population, and injury data reports are available for all counties.
Conclusions The Safe Communities approach has been shown to be effective in saving lives and reducing costs. A recent NSC study showed that after 10 years of rising injuries and injury rates in one community, the decision to seek Safe Community accreditation was followed by a 2-year decline in injury hospitalizations. In those two years, the study showed that nearly 300 hospitalizations may have been prevented, saving the community over $14 million in health care costs.
- Safe Communities
- injury prevention
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