Blood Assurance Joins Nation’s First Emergency Blood Reserve

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Facing an increasingly unsteady blood supply, Blood Assurance has joined a first-in-the-nation partnership to ensure preparedness for emergency situations where blood needs are high. The announcement was made at the hangar for LIFE FORCE.

The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps is composed of several blood centers from across the nation that have committed to collecting extra blood units on a rotating, “on call” schedule. The extra blood products will be held in reserve for any critical-need scenario, like a mass shooting or natural disaster. 

“The ugly reality that COVID brought to blood collectors is a disturbing uncertainty and scarcity in the blood supply,” said J.B Gaskins, president and CEO of Blood Assurance. “When disaster strikes, BERC will give us more confidence that the immediate transfusion needs can be met. BERC provides a ready-to-go supply of blood to fill the holes appearing in our disaster response fabric.”

The nation’s blood centers have faced widespread blood shortages since 2020, creating a severely strained national safety net for mass traumas and other high casualty disasters. As the area’s sole blood supplier, Blood Assurance joined BERC to be proactive in its emergency planning.

“When faced with a mass-need event,” Mr. Gaskins said, “blood centers across the country have relied on patchwork pleas for additional blood resources. States that had extra blood on hand might send units, but there was nothing that a blood center could count on other than undefined goodwill. With BERC, partner blood centers will know exactly how much emergency blood is available and where it will come from.”

Blood Assurance will be collecting extra blood products as part of its on-call schedule. Drive coordinators and donors will be asked to step up to a higher calling of guardianship to cover possible coast to coast needs. If no emergency situation arises, the blood products will be returned to Blood Assurance’s general inventory, to be used for local blood needs. Participating centers will rotate inventory coverage, starting on a 3-week cycle.

Whole blood and double red cell donors can schedule an appointment online at bloodassurance.org/schedule, or by calling 800-962-0628, or texting BAGIVE to 999777. Plasma and platelet donors can call their local centers to schedule. Walk-ins will be accepted. 

To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids — avoiding caffeine — and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating.

Article via Chattanoogan

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