What does “community readiness” look like for our community’s blood supply?
For our local blood supply, the summer season is no vacation. Right now, the number of blood units available for transfusion barely meets our community’s need, leading to a potential situation where a mass-casualty event like a shooting or natural disaster would devastate the supply and some people needing blood would have to go without.
Or, as Bloodworks Executive Vice President of Blood Services Vicki Finson said in this podcast episode:
“Emergencies can happen 24/7/365, and with the help of the community, the blood center needs to be prepared for whatever happens. It could be something large like a mass shooting, a train derailment, an earthquake or a very large, multiple vehicle accident, or it could be a combination of small things that add up to a day where there’s a lot of blood usage. We’re always trying to be prepared for that as best we can.”
“What happens in the worst case scenario and there is something like an Orlando or a Las Vegas and there just isn’t enough blood on hand?” asked producer Bill Harper.
“If something happened and it was really large and there wasn’t the available blood already on the shelf donated at least three of five days ago, people would die.”
There is often a big surge in blood donations following tragic events like the lines out the door we saw at our Olympia Donor Center after the Amtrak 501 crash in 2017, but it’s the donations made in the days before the tragedy that save lives on the day they happen.
Community Ready means people donate every 56 days to make sure their blood is ready for whoever needs it, whether they’re a heart transplant patient, an accident victim, or one-year-old baby just one transfusion away from their hard-fought remission. Community Ready means we get through anything, together.
With Bloodworks’ upcoming summer Blood Emergency Readiness Corps rotations, we could be called upon to transport 15 units of O- and O+ blood to the site of any disaster in the U.S. The PNW needs to be more Community Ready than ever. Make your summer blood donation appointment now to help make sure we’re ready for anything.