Sirens for Life campaign to launch

Canadian Blood Services will launch its annual Sirens for Life campaign in Red Deer tomorrow.

The 12th annual campaign runs through to Sept. 1st.

“It’s an annual campaign that shows support for the Red Deer RCMP and the Red Deer Emergency Services,” said Heather Rumbolt, volunteer resources coordinator for Canadian Blood Services in Red Deer. “It encourages people to donate blood. Of course the emergency workers know firsthand how much patients rely on blood and blood products. The campaign just helps the general public rally for those patients as well.”

The campaign used to include a friendly competition between the RCMP and EMS to see who could bring in the most donors, but that has changed. “They now work together for the common goal to get as many donations as possible.”

In the past, nearly 100,000 new blood donors in Alberta donated during the campaign.

Rumbolt added the Sirens for Life campaign is held during the summer months to help remind Central Albertans of the importance of donating blood. It is especially important because Canadian Blood Services is at an all time low for donations in the last five years, she said.

“When the nice weather comes people want to be outside or are on vacation. The need for blood doesn’t decrease during the summer months by any means. The need for blood is constant. We really need people to remember to come in and donate,” said Rumbolt. “It’s certainly very important that people come in and donate blood, come roll up their sleeves and save some lives.”

Meanwhile, as Canada Day just passed, Central Albertans are reminded that blood donations are needed around holidays. Current and first-time blood donors from coast to coast are being urged to make a blood donation immediately following the Canada Day holiday. All blood donors are needed, in particular those with type O and A blood.

“With the holiday falling mid-week this year, we’re seeing fewer appointments booked and a higher number of cancellations around Canada Day,” says Mark Donnison, vice-president of donor relations. “This is particularly challenging because many regular donors are planning to take an extra-long weekend.”

According to the Canada Safety Council web site, more fatalities occur on Canadian roads during the summer months than any other time of year and 85% of these collisions are considered preventable. It can take up to 50 donors to help save the life of someone in a car crash.

While it is not possible to prevent all traffic crashes from happening, it is possible to ensure blood is there for all Canadian patients when they need it. Canadian Blood Services forecasts that they will need almost 30,000 appointments each week during the summer to meet demand. Right now, there are more than 7,500 appointments available across the country between now and July 5th – including 252 in Red Deer.

To book an appointment download the ‘GiveBlood’ app, visit www.blood.ca or call 1-888-2-DONATE.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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