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Sirens call out for blood donors

Emergency services personnel rally behind blood drive

By: Scott Hayes

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 06:00 am

FROM THE HEART – EMS worker Daniel Sabourin gives blood Tuesday during the kickoff to the Sirens for Life campaign.
FROM THE HEART – EMS worker Daniel Sabourin gives blood Tuesday during the kickoff to the Sirens for Life campaign.
APRIL BARTLETT/St. Albert Gazette

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The constant quest for blood donors just got a huge helping hand from some uniformed members of various emergency services in the Edmonton area.

Tuesday saw the launch of the 12th annual Sirens for Life Campaign for the Canadian Blood Services. Insp. Kevin Murray, commander of the St. Albert RCMP Detachment, explained that he makes a regular habit of rolling up his sleeve.

“We’re attending a lot of emergency situations: car accidents, collisions … we see firsthand the need that is constant within the province and each and every one of our communities.”

The campaign runs until the end of January. The provincial arm of the national blood agency is hoping to entice 12,000 Albertans to donate the gift of life before then. Locally, representatives have set a goal of 4,600 donations.

Lori Bosko, community development co-ordinator with the Edmonton branch, said that the month-long drive comes at a good time because the recent holiday season often sees a dip in incoming blood products due to donors’ busy schedules.

“January can be one of our slower months,” she said. “[Sirens for Life] has been instrumental in making sure that we have enough blood collections for all of the hospital patients that need them.”

She said the agency usually sees approximately 250 donors per day. The campaign is normally a friendly competition between emergency service providers only in the Edmonton and Calgary areas. Now it is an Alberta-wide challenge because the need for blood products knows no city boundaries.

“The idea behind it is that we’re all working together. This is the public’s chance to help emergency workers who are out there saving lives every day. It’s another way to save lives.”

Murray said the help is definitely appreciated. One person injured in a car crash could need as many as 50 blood donations to help save his life.

“I think that just the number of emergency situations that we do have certainly heightened that constant need for donations of blood. Canadian Blood Services’ motto is ‘It’s in you to give.’ I encourage anyone to find out if they’re an eligible donor and if you are to make that commitment every 56 days.”

Donating blood takes about an hour. The next local blood donor clinics take place from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at Morinville’s Rendezvous Centre and from 3 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at the St. Albert Catholic Church.

Prospective donors can also ride the Life Bus for free transportation to and from the Edmonton permanent clinic located at 8249 114 St.

For more information or to book an appointment, call 1-888-2-DONATE (236-6283) or visit www.blood.ca.


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