Community Urged to Help “Prepare for Anything” by Donating Blood with The Blood Connection
It is human nature to want to be prepared. We prepare for our future by going to school and getting a job. We prepare for big trips by writing out lists and packing the night before. We prepare for natural disasters by stocking up on supplies and making sure we have an evacuation plan. We prepare for so many things in life – but what are we doing to prepare our blood supply, in the event of a mass emergency? The Blood Connection (TBC) is asking community members to join its campaign to be “Prepared for Anything,” by donating blood this month and helping ensure a steady and stable blood supply.
Headlines in newspapers and online often tell a tragic story: “Several killed in mass shooting…” or “Dozens injured in tornado outbreak…”. These stories of disasters and emergencies often include injuries and traumas that require lifesaving treatments and supplies to save lives. One of the most important of those supplies is blood.
According to America’s Blood Centers, more than 80% of deaths in the operating room and nearly 50% of deaths in the first 24 hours after injury are due to severe blood loss. In the United States, hemorrhage is the most common cause of death within the first hour of arrival to a trauma center.
“Blood is paramount to ensuring our neighbors, friends, and family members survive traumatic injuries,” said Delisa English, President and CEO of The Blood Connection. “When an emergency strikes and a hospital calls for blood products, we can only give them what has been donated by community members – and if we don’t have enough – we can’t just make more in a lab.”
That is why it is vital to the safety and wellbeing of the community to prepare now and ensure the blood shelves are stocked in case a disaster hits.
TBC is a proud member of The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps – a group of blood centers across the country who have joined together to ensure blood products are available in the event of a disaster or emergency that requires many transfusions. These blood centers, of which there are nearly forty, commit to collecting extra units on a rotating “on call” schedule to create an available “surplus” of blood for emergency needs. TBC is on call next on May 15-21.
In many disasters and critical-need scenarios – like a mass shooting, natural disaster, or large-scale car crash – many units of blood are needed immediately. Three percent of civilian trauma patients will receive a massive transfusion (more than ten units of red blood cells within 24 hours). These patients use 70% of all blood transfused at trauma centers. Since joining the BERC in December of 2021, TBC has sent units to other centers three times, including to Nashville after an outbreak of tornadoes in 2021, and to Uvalde, Texas after the school shooting in May of 2022.
In this post-COVID world, most blood centers don’t have enough blood on their shelves to handle these types of disasters and are forced to request blood units from neighboring blood centers, which can take time. The BERC ensures blood will be ready and available if needed, without delays and uncertainty.
“We are thankful that our communities have not experienced an emergency that would require units from the BERC be sent to us,” said English, “…but we never know if or when we will need those resources, and we are grateful to know we have a safety net, should we need it.”
While it is TBC’s responsibility to collect, process, and supply blood donations for local hospitals, it is not
TBC’s sole responsibility to ensure a stable community blood supply: it is the responsibility of every member of this community. TBC or its hospital partners don’t need the blood products: local patients – neighbors, friends, parents, children – need blood products to live a full life.
TBC is asking community members to join us in the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps and help be “Prepared for Anything” to help protect the community – and country’s – blood supply. Donating blood is a simple and quick way to make a tremendous impact in your community. As a thank you for donating with your community blood center, all blood donors will receive $45 (or more during some days) in rewards in the month of May (some drive exclusions apply). To find a convenient place to donate blood, go to thebloodconnection.org/donate. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome.
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