Each year, the Mayor of Trafford (and I guess other places as well) nominates charitable causes that they will support over the course of their term of office. The last Mayor of Trafford (Cllr Dylan Butt) decided that he wanted to focus his charitable work on purchasing automatic external defibrillator (AED) units, and positioning them around Trafford. Ordinarily, the Mayor would be supported by a committee of his choosing - other Councillors, friends and associates, to organise money-raising events. Unusually, because this wasn't simply about raising money and handing it over to a charity, we decided to set up an officers group to work out where these AEDs might be best placed.

This group consisted of:

There was a lot of activity around Gala Dinners, Heartstart training for Councillors, and links with a charity called Hand on Heart. This being ostensibly a datablog, I'm going to focus on how we used data to support the project.

We decided to make it properly data-driven - and really think carefully about how we would target resources. We knew that based on previous Mayoral campaigns, we could expect to be able to purchase approximately 15 units - at very approximately 1,000 each.

So we looked a range of indicators at quite small geographical levels (LSOA and MSOA) - physical activity, demographic details, obesity levels, mortality rates, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). We also used our geodemographic segmentation data to identify certain propensities - such as drink/smoke etc.

At the same time as this, we started to crowdmap locations of existing units. I'd expected there to be a handful around the borough - but we actually turned up around 30 - in GP practices, shops, leisure centres, gyms, schools. We mapped them to get an idea of where there were any gaps, and differentiated based on whether the unit is publically accessible 24/7. This helped inform the next steps.

The problem with using the indicators above was that all the data was centred around where people lived. And we (in conjunction with public health) determined that the first 10 units should be deployed into areas where there are likely to be large numbers of people for long periods of time - shopping centres, town centres, sports stadia, parks etc. So we drew up a list of likely locations around Trafford for the priority 10, that weren't already covered by a unit. These were spread across the four localities of Trafford, and used mainly anecdotal information, drawn from local knowledge.

The charity committee then came to us to request a list of more potential sites - the amber list. We started to think about how we might do this, and we approached North West Ambulance Service to see if they could let us have any data that we could use, and they did! They gave us the number of 'Red 1' calls (immediate threat to life) that they had received over the previous year, by postcode sector (eg M33 4).

Map showing number of Red 1 Calls received by NWAS in 2013
Number of Red 1s (Immediate threat to life) received by
North West Ambulance Service, 2013.

This was VERY useful in allowing us to think about a list of 60 or so sites around Trafford, where a unit would be appropriate. Based on the data, positioning one defib would remove several sites from the list.

This list allowed the Mayor's charity committee to focus on particular areas for their fundraising. One of the things we did to support this was query our business database to produce a list of businesses within a 500 meter radius of each proposed site, so that the Mayor could write to them to request a contribution towards a unit that they'd be able to see (but hopefully never have to use...)

While this was going on, Partnerships people were working with a charity called Hand on Heart to put units into schools in Trafford, which was very successful, but not covered here.

We have now made an updated, public map of all defibrillators in Trafford. We are now up to 72, that we know of, which suggest the Mayor's campaign was a huge success.

Map of defibrillators in Trafford
Defibrillators in Trafford as at 6 November 2014.

This map is really not intended to be a 'OH MY GOSH I REALLY REALLY NEED TO USE A DEFIBRILLATOR RIGHT NOW WHERE'S THE NEAREST ONE?' tool, but more to raise awareness.

We really think that the data work that we did with this project contributed to its success, and demonstrate that building data specialists into projects from the beginning is very important.

Postscript 1: So far, at least two defibrillators have been used for real in Trafford leisure centres.

Postscript 2: Perhaps this drone-mounted defibrillator will negate the need for all this analysis in the future...