BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Hundreds of people who wanted to help victims of Tuesday's school shooting in Uvalde, Texas have donated blood. It's a positive turnout amid a national blood shortage that helps the blood banks across the country on standby to supply the blood to more communities than just their own.
Houchin Community Blood Bank is one of more than thirty blood centers across the country that are part of the Blood Emergency Readiness Corporation, also known as BERC. It's a group of blood centers committed to joining together to prepare for a big emergency, like a mass shooting or natural disaster where a large amount of blood is needed.
And Houchin helps donate that blood to communities when called for. On a shelf in Houchin Community Blood Bank’s freezer are bags of blood on standby to be sent in the case of an emergency. Rachel Parlier with Houchin says centers take turns sending blood where needed and this week that need was in Texas.
“We set aside depending when we are on call 10 O positive units and 4 O negative units and then if we are activated the week that we are on call we will then ship out those units to the areas that requested it,” explained Parlier. “Texas blood and tissue did not need blood on the day of but they needed help on days after. So those blood centers they were on call that week sent out the specific blood units that the blood bank requested.”
Parlier says Houchin has not sent any blood to Texas but has it ready to go.
“It is better to be proactive rather than reactive, so we want to respond to a situation before it happens rather than responding after the fact because it's the blood on the shelves before the incident that saves the patients rather than the blood on the shelves after the emergency happened.”
If the center does not use the necessary BERC units before it expires, it gets added to Houchin's local supply which is needed to help patients in Kern County.
“We always provide for our local hospitals, and keep the necessary supply that we have although blood donations have been extremely low for probably about a year now so we are constantly urging people to come and donate.”
Parlier says the center is in desperate need of all blood types.
“All O blood types are in high demand and platelets are in high demand so O negative is used and can be used on O positive patients as well as premature babies, and O positive can be given to all other blood types as well.”
Parlier says with the increase of violence nationwide, blood donors are needed, not just for a large emergencies, but to treat local patients every day.
You can donate blood Monday through Saturday at Houchin’s Bolthouse or Truxtun locations.
5901 Truxtun Ave, Bakersfield
11515 Bolthouse Dr, Bakersfield