That's the message delivered by Canadian Blood Services and local emergency services personnel today when they launched the annual Sirens for Life blood drive, that pits against one another local police, paramedics and firefighters in a challenge to collect the most blood.
“The need for blood doesn’t take a summer vacation, and paramedics, fire and police workers may know this more than most,” Annon Zubal, community development co-ordinator, said. “That’s one of the reasons these first responders are rallying together and rolling up their sleeves.”
As such, Canadian Blood Services at 235 Cedar St. will be open July 2 when most of the rest of the city will shut down for the statutory holiday, Zubal said.
As of noon on June 28, Canadian Blood Services still needed to fill about 60 per cent of it available time slots.
Police, fire and paramedic services personnel will roll up their sleeves over the next two months as part of Sirens for Life. They are going above and beyond the call of duty to rally behind this year’s Sirens for Life blood donor challenge to donate blood and help save lives.
The challenge runs from July 1 to Sept. 3 as the three branches compete to donate the most blood. The competition for bragging rights is friendly but every police, fire or EMS worker knows the importance of blood.
Dennis Melanson, superintendent of investigations and compliance for Sudbury EMS, said on a daily basis, paramedics see the need for blood donations.
“This is a great cause, we all have families who live in the area,” Melanson said. “This really is a small community, and the chances are great of knowing someone who will need a blood transfusion at some point in their life.”
Last year was the biggest turnout for Sudbury EMS, he said, with 29 units donated by staff, family and friends. It was enough for EMS to walk away with bragging rights, beating out Greater Sudbury Fire Service, the Ontario Provincial Police and Greater Sudbury Police Service.
“I've set a goal of 50 donations for our service this year,” Melanson said. “We've managed to win the title for the past two years, but I think this year is going to be tougher, because I've seen a few emails go out to the other services encouraging donations. The challenge is out there, and we're going to have to step up to win it again this year.”
For this year’s Canadian Blood Services’ Sirens for Life blood donor challenge, the goal is to collect 100 units of blood in northeastern Ontario and to increase the number of young, male, ethnically diverse registrants on the One Match Stem Cell and Marrow Network, Zubal said.
“I know the hard work and drive of our emergency services personnel will bring in more than we have targeted,” he said. “It's these people who are on the frontline every day and know lives can change in an instant.”
For the month of July, Canadian Blood Services still has more than 500 open appointments at 235 Cedar St.; for the month of August, there are 700 open appointments still available.
“We need help, and we need the community to rally and help us hit our targets,” Zubal said.
Anyone can need blood at anytime. It can take 50 units of blood to save someone who has been in a car accident. That means 50 donors who need to come in to donate.”
Forecasts for July and September for northeastern Ontario is that about 20,000 units of blood will be needed for hospital and patient demand, he said. June, July and August is a very tough time of the year for Canadian Blood Services, because people are away on vacation, “and this is a way for us to keep the need for donations in the public.”
Posted by Arron Pickard