Columbia police and fire departments face off to promote blood donation
Boots and Badges competition kicks off Memorial Day weekend
COLUMBIA, S.C. (May 4, 2015) — The Columbia Police Department and Columbia Fire Department are challenging each other — and the community — to give blood at the fourth “Boots and Badges” blood drive May 22 to 26. The multi-day event is scheduled for the critical Memorial Day holiday period, a time when blood donations typically decline because of holiday travel and events.
“Law enforcement extends beyond investigations and general police work. It also means community service and making a difference in the lives of others,” said Columbia Police Chief William “Skip” Holbrook. “The Columbia Police Department is a proud advocate of the American Red Cross. We have several officers who consistently donate blood. We want to inspire others to do the same.”
The friendly competition pits the police officers and firefighters against each other to find out which department can donate more pints. But it’s not just the public safety officers who can participate – friends, family and community supporters can also become a hero by giving blood and voting for their favorite “team.” At the end of the drive, the Red Cross will announce the department with the most votes and honor the winner with a commemorative plaque.
“As first responders, the Columbia Fire Department and Columbia Police Department never know when we may be called upon to save a life, but you can schedule an appointment to be a lifesaver if you donate needed blood during the Memorial Day holiday,” said Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins. “It’s simple: Donate blood to help save lives.”
Each day, the American Red Cross needs 15,000 blood donations to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. With schools out and families on vacation, it’s often difficult to collect the blood required to meet patient needs during the summer months. During the summer months of June, July, and August, on average, about two fewer donors give blood at each American Red Cross blood drive. This could add up to more than 100,000 fewer donations during the summer. If at least two more donors gave blood at every Red Cross blood drive this summer, above what’s expected, patients would be better assured of having lifesaving blood products readily available.
All presenting donors at the Boots and Badges blood drive will receive a free Boots and Badges T-shirt. In addition, presenting donors can enter to win a one-of-a-kind lunch at Spotted Salamander with the fire department and police department chiefs.
The Boots and Badges competition will be held at the American Red Cross Columbia Donation Center, 2751 Bull St., from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, May 22 and Saturday, May 23; 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, May 25; and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26. To make an appointment, call 1-800-RED CROSS, visit redcrossblood.org or download the Red Cross Blood Donor App.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.