Local blood bank sends blood units to Texas after mass shooting, national shortage ongoing

The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC) was activated this week in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

BERC is a network of 30 blood centers in the U.S. that ensures blood availability during a disaster or emergency.

Bloodworks Northwest joined in May and a spokesperson said blood units were sent to Texas to help with the response.

"It literally saves lives it’s a medicine that’s going to somebody that needs it," said Meg Hall, Community Engagement Manager with Bloodworks NW. "If we all contribute together, we can make sure that the hospitals get what they need."

Hall shared the daily inventory snapshot at Bloodworks NW, and some supply is at emergency levels. Hall said blood donations in recent years have taken a dramatic dive.

While there are a variety of reasons, the pandemic is having the most dramatic effect on donations in recent history.

"If there’s not enough blood on hand, doctors and hospitals need to start making decisions and prioritizing what kind of treatments are we going to do," said Hall.

Hall said it’s a civic duty to donate blood when you can. She said it’s a simple process that usually only takes 45 minutes from beginning to end and donors are only on the bed for eight to 10 minutes.

"There’s a chance that we’re all going to need blood in our lifetime so we all have to contribute to it being there. The blood that’s used to save lives during that event is blood that was donated a couple days before. That’s why it’s really important that everybody makes an effort to donate and that we don’t wait for a national emergency or natural disaster or some kind of large-scale event," said Hall.

If you’re interested in donating blood, click here to find a donor center near you.