Preparing Our Nation When Disaster Strikes
Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center has joined Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC) as part of the nation’s first emergency blood reserve.
BERC comprises 33 blood centers from across the nation that has committed to collecting extra blood units on a rotating, “on-call” schedule. These reserved blood products will be held for large-scale emergencies requiring blood transfusions. These events are incidents that lead to immediate high blood usage with five or more victims requiring transfusions. Emergency usage may come from mass shootings, natural disasters, or multi-vehicle collisions.
In the last year, BERC has been activated four times, most recently during the Uvalde school shooting. Blood is an essential part of our response to any trauma situation.
“Unfortunately, there’s a growing number of disasters across our communities and nation. We are proud to join The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps to extend our life-saving mission in critical times,” said Theresa Pina, Vice President of Operations.
Before BERC, blood centers facing a mass need event have relied on other blood centers to send additional units from their available inventory – but only if the excess was available to share. Today, we’re facing more mass trauma events requiring blood, and less blood is available than ever before. Being a part of BERC, we can ensure blood will be ready and available if needed, without delays and uncertainty.
“When another community needs our help with blood products for disaster patient care, we want to ensure they have the blood they need quickly. Our generous volunteer blood donors allow us the opportunity to make a difference in communities beyond our own,” Pina said.
How does it work? When an emergency hits, blood is released to the local blood center in immediate need. All participating blood centers will know exactly how much emergency blood is available and who the supplier is, providing immediate access to needed blood products during a mass transfusion disaster. If no emergency situation arises, the blood products will be returned to the collecting center’s general inventory to be used for local blood needs.
Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s first rotation is scheduled for July 18-24, 2022. Donors are encouraged to donate to ensure a stable blood supply. Churches, businesses, and community groups can contact the blood center to host a blood drive this summer in their community. Hosting a blood drive is free, and you can impact many lives. Those who are interested can go to giveblood.org/host-a-blood-drive to get started.
Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is the sole provider of blood and blood components 24/7 to more than 170 hospitals and health care facilities in a 26-county Texas Gulf Coast region. Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is a nonprofit organization and is accredited by the Food and Drug Administration.