Majority of U.S. blood centers now part of nation’s first emergency blood reserve

Blood Emergency Readiness Corps grows to 30 blood centers serving 37 states

March 1, 2022 – Formed just six months ago, the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC) has continued its rapid growth to now include 30 community blood centers which operate in 37 states across the U.S., resulting in a majority of the nation’s blood operators now being part of the program.

BERC, which launched in early September 2021 with just seven founding members, is a group of blood centers who have joined together to be prepared for mass transfusion disasters that might strike. The blood centers commit to collecting extra units on a rotating “on call” schedule to ensure a reserve of blood is available for emergency needs. This is the first time that blood centers have used a proactive approach for disaster response.

“Growing to 30 blood centers is a significant milestone,” said Nelson Hellwig, CEO of the Alliance for Community Transfusion Services (ACTS) and Administrator of the BERC program. “We never know when these events will occur, and with what frequency, but we do know that the blood on the shelves at a center is what would be used in an emergency. With partner blood centers now blanketing the U.S., BERC is well positioned to be the team of first responders for blood products in critical times of need.”

To date, the program has activated to support a mass shooting at a grocery store near Memphis, TN, a mass shooting at a school near Detroit, MI, and a mass casualty event brought about by a series of tornadoes throughout the Midwest. The quick response by BERC highlighted the need and effectiveness of an emergency reserve system.

The latest blood center to join the program is Seattle-based Bloodworks Northwest. “Bloodworks Northwest stands ready to assist other blood centers if called upon to provide emergency shipments to help communities in need near and far,” said Curt Bailey, President and CEO of Bloodworks Northwest. “This underscores the importance of having a strong inventory of blood available at all times in order to respond immediately when natural or man-made disasters happen in our local community and beyond.”

To learn more about BERC and see the full list of participating blood centers, visit bloodemergencyreadinesscorps.org.

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The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps was founded in 2021 to meet the immediate transfusion needs when faced with a large-scale emergency situation that requires blood transfusions. To learn more and see a list of participating blood centers, visit bloodemergencyreadinesscorps.org.

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