Thursday, 09 February 2023

Local fire departments host 17th annual competition

LAKEPORT, Calif. — Vitalant, in coordination with 19 fire departments across Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties, is proud to announce the 17th annual Bucket Brigade Blood Drive Challenge.

The challenge is a friendly competition among participating fire departments to see which department can host the largest blood drive between December and January by enlisting firefighters, friends, family and members of the community to donate lifesaving blood.

In Lake County, blood drive events will take place on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. at the Lakeport Fire Department, 445 N. Main St. and on Wednesday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at South Lake County Fire Protection District, 21095 State Highway 175.

Donating blood is critical to helping patients this holiday season. On average, blood donations drop by more than 4,000 in December compared to the rest of the year.

In fact, the last two weeks of December are the lowest annual donation period – a worrisome trend.

“Right now we are hovering around a one-day supply of available blood when we would like to see a four-day supply,” says Charlene Verba, regional director for Vitalant. “Having fire departments encourage eligible donors to give provides much needed support during a typically challenging time.”

Since 2006, fire departments participating in the Bucket Brigade Challenge have recruited more than 12,000 participants.

Last year, Sonoma County Fire District won the coveted Bucket Trophy with over 100 participants. Participating firefighters recognize the significance of their blood drives.

Erich Engle of Sonoma County Fire District is a frequent blood donor and encourages community members to “make time this winter to support their local firefighters and donate blood.”
Multiple fire departments are hosting blood drives. As a special thank you, blood donors will receive an annual event T-shirt.

To find a drive near you, visit https://vitalant.org/bucketbrigade.

For your donation, please arrive well-hydrated, well-nourished, with a face mask and photo identification.

For eligibility information and to learn more about how we are adjusting to the pandemic, visit www.vitalant.org.

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