Preparing for today
In mass transfusion disasters, tomorrow is too late to respond. In a COVID-affected world, blood centers don’t have enough blood on their shelves to weather these types of disasters. So, the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps was created.
What is BERC?
The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC) is a group of blood centers across the nation who commit to joining together to be prepared for mass transfusion disasters that may strike. These blood centers commit to collecting extra units on a rotating “on call” schedule to create an available supply of blood for emergency needs.
Why is it Needed?
In many disasters and critical-need scenarios – like a mass shooting, natural disaster or large-scale car crash – much blood is needed immediately. With current donation rates nationally, 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 collectors. By creating BERC, blood will be ready and available if needed, without delays and uncertainty.
Participating Blood Centers
As a founding member of the San Antonio Fire prehospital blood program in 2018, I have witnessed dozens of EMS agencies adopt blood programs throughout the nation. With the proliferation of prehospital blood, I have always been concerned that demand may overwhelm supply in a major disaster. BERC stands as an ingenious collaboration to temporarily assist blood centers when hospitals and EMS agencies manage high demand situations. I truly believe that your organization should coordinate with federal level emergency response agencies such as FEMA to maximize your reach and capabilities. The vision, development, and implementation of BERC is nothing short of amazing. Thank you and a special shout out to my local BERC organization, the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center.”
-William Bullock, City of San Antonio