injury prevention web logo
IPW Home

Home Page

Data Sources

Center for Injury Prevention Policy and Practice

California Data Sources for Injury Surveillance,
Research, and Prevention Activities


  • EPICenter, California Department of Health Services, EPIC Branch

    The EPICenter provides access to the most recent California statewide and county-specific injury data via standardized tables or through its powerful query system. Mortality and morbidity data is available.

  • California Vital Statistics Death Records, Department of Health Services (DHS)

    Data are available on every reported death from CA death certificates where the external cause of injury falls in the ICD-9 code range E800-E999. Cause of death information on the death certificate are reported by attending physicians, medical examiners, or coroners. and demographic information about decedents reported by funeral directors, who obtain that information from family members and other informants. The fact that this data is E coded allows for a population-based fatal injury surveillance system. Vital statistics data are limited in the information they provide surrounding the nature and circumstances of the injury and risk factors associated with the death.

  • Medical Examiner or Coroner's Reports

    Narrative information on the circumstances surrounding the cause of the death. Vital Statistics often conclude the underlying cause of death from these reports.

  • WISQARS  (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System). CDC, NCIPC

    An interactive system that provides customized injury-related mortality data useful for research and for making informed public health decisions. Death data come from a national mortality database compiled by CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. This database contains information from death certificates filed in state vital-statistics offices. Population data come from the Bureau of the Census.

    Mortality data from 1981-1997 are available by Year, Age, Race, Sex, Hispanic Origin, and State. You can request reports by 5-year age ranges (e.g., 0-4,5-9) or define your own (e.g 13-19). Race categories are White, Black, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian and Pacific Islander, and Other (which is all non-white and non-black and may include other races not listed here). WISQARS does not provide county-level injury mortality data.

  • WONDER  (Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiological Research). CDC

    The CDC Wonder Database for Searches & Queries provides county, state and national injury mortality data. In order to submit your injury mortality data requests using WONDER, you will be asked to sign-on to the WONDER system. You may enter anonymously or select a user name and password.

  • Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System  (SWITRS), California Highway Patrol

    SWITRS processes all reported fatal and injury collisions which occurred on California's state highways and all other roadways, excluding private property. Data is abstracted from motor vehicle traffic collision reports received from local police and sheriff jurisdictions and from CHP field offices. SWITRS includes only those deaths that occur within 30 days of the crash. Injuries following a traffic collision includes the entire range, from a report of pain without further medical care to serious injuries requiring hospitalization. CA county-specific data are available via email, phone, fax, and mail requests.

  • Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)

    Contains information on all traffic crashes on public traffic ways resulting in a fatality to a vehicle occupant or non-motorist, where the death occurs within 30 days of the crash. In addition to age and gender information, FARS also provides information on alcohol/drug involvement and safety restraint use. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains this dataset.

    You can perform your own custom data queries via the FARS Query System. You can access FARS data at the state level by contacting your FARS analyst. Data are available for every year since FARS was established in 1975. Data on fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes are gathered from CA's own source documents such as those listed below, and are coded on standard FARS forms:

    • Police Accident Reports (PARS)
    • State vehicle registration files
    • State driver licensing files
    • State Highway Department data
    • Vital Statistics
    • Death certificates
    • Coroner/Medical examiner reports
    • Hospital medical records
    • Emergency medical service reports

  • Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)  Uniform Crime Reporting-Supplemental Homicide Reports.

    A compilation of voluntary reporting of homicides by local law enforcement agencies to the FBI. The FBI reports data from the Uniform Crime Reports on a state-by-state basis. The system provides access to county-level data on crimes reported and arrests as provided to the FBI. This system covers about 98% of the United States population. The data system usually underestimates the actual incidence of homicides as compared to the National Vital Statistics System for mortality data since reporting of homicides is voluntary. Another limitation of this dataset is ethnicity is determined by the reporting officer's observation.
  • EPICenter, California Department of Health Services, EPIC Branch

    The EPICenter provides access to the most recent California statewide and county-specific injury data via standardized tables or through its powerful query system. Mortality and morbidity data is available.

  • CA Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD)

    In California, E coded hospital discharge data is the only population-based system for monitoring non fatal injuries. Hospital discharge files contain information on patients discharged from all non-Federal acute care hospitals licensed to provide inpatient services in CA. Hospitalization charges, length of stay and expected source of payment data are included in hospital discharge files. County-specific data are available from this database.

  • Hospital-based Trauma Registries

    No standardized trauma registry data is available in California.

  • Emergency Department Data

    E coding of emergency department data will begin in California in 2005. Emergency department data is the only source that captures those injuries that are self-transported, treated and released.

  • EMS/Ambulance Run Reports

    Emergency Medical Services can provide information on circumstances that may not be recorded in an emergency room. EMS can get first hand information at the scene of the incident and can answer questions like whether the child was strapped securely into a car seat, whether seat belts were used, if alcohol was involved etc.

  • California Poison Control System (CPCS)

    CPCS is a statewide network of trained experts who provide the public with toll-free hotline telephone information about treating poisoning exposures. CPCS maintains computerized medical records of all calls averaging about 900/day and generate statistics based on the calls (demographic as well as exposure-related).
  • EPIC Firearm Injury Surveillance Program (FISP)

    Uses several data sources including death certificates, homicide reports, hospital records, and telephone surveys to provide information on firearm injuries in CA. Questions such as who is at risk, who is shot, what are the circumstances of the shooting, are studied under the system. EPIC is also working with health economists at the University of California, San Francisco to find out more about the costs of firearm injuries. FISP has linked homicide files with death certificates for 1990 through 1995, provided information to legislators considering firearm laws, and analyzed patterns of gun ownership and storage in homes with children. Soon EPIC hopes to expand firearm injury surveillance to surveillance of all violence-related injuries. Contact Jason Van Court (916) 445-3642 or e-mail for more information on this program.

  • EPIC Fatal Child Abuse and Neglect Surveillance Program, CA DHS

    EPIC Branch, in conjunction with the State Child Death Review Council and local Child Death Review Teams (CDRT), have developed a state monitoring system for child abuse and neglect fatalities. The CAN Surveillance Program conducts an annual reconciliation audit of three state databases (DHS Vital Statistics Death Records, Department of Justice Homicide Files and Child Abuse Central Index) in conjunction with local CDRT case reviews to establish more accurate information on fatal child abuse. Contact Steve Wirtz, Ph.D. (916) 445-8803/ for more information on this program.

  • California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS)

    California will be switching from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) to the California Healthy Kids Survey, a comprehensive youth health and risk behavior data collection service available to all California local education agencies. The CHKS can be used to assess:

    • use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs
    • violence, school safety, gang involvement, and delinquency
    • nutrition and physical activity
    • sexual behavior
    • exposure to prevention and intervention activities
    • risk and protective (resiliency) factors

    The CHKS provides local, state, and national comparisons. Survey questions are drawn primarily from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the California Student Substance Use Survey. For further information, call toll-free 888.841.7536.

  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System  (BRFSS)

    Telephone survey tracking health risks in the U.S. Injury questions include seatbelt use, restraint use among persons <16 years, bicycle helmet use, and presence of smoke detector in home. State and county-level data are available.