Impact Life has joined in a partnership of community blood providers in forming the first emergency blood reserve in the country.
Impact Life, which services hospitals in a three-state area that includes all of the WLDS/WEAI listening area, is now part of The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps, or BERC in an effort to make sure there is enough blood on hand for emergencies that could lead to high demand for blood. BERC was created last year in an effort to help blood providers meet immediate transfusion needs.
Mike Rasso, Director, Sales, and Inventory with ImpactLife, says although their blood centers have worked hard to avoid shortages of blood, they know demand can spike at any time. He says when Impact Life began talks with the BERC program there were 15 blood centers involved and as of today, that number has now grown to 30.
Rasso says Impact Life along with other blood centers will now rotate inventory coverage for BERC allowing all partner centers to know exactly how much emergency blood is available and where it would come from.
“So it’s having growth which is great for supply reserve, and those are the two keywords for this program- commitment and reserve. Previously when there was an emergent need, centers would reach out to other blood centers and supply might not always be available. This builds a program where supply is available on a rotational basis for the thirty participating centers.
A minimum volume is set, we will set that set aside for a seven-day window and if not used, we will push that back to the general inventory and then our set will resurface in three more weeks. But again it builds that supply that previously wasn’t there.”
Rasso says the BERC program allows for blood centers to ensure there is blood available during large emergencies, even during times when donations and supply is low such as during the holidays. He says not every event qualifies for blood units from the BERC program.
“There are some criteria, it has to be a mass casualty event or a mass shooting event that includes at least five people going to the hospital for treatment. The program has been activated three times previously. The first time was in September for a grocery store shooting in the Memphis, Tennessee area. It was activated and units were distributed.
The second was early December for the school shooting in Michigan, the program was activated and units were sent again. And the last time unfortunately was most recent in our memory which was that EF-4 tornado in the Kentucky area. The program was activated and units were sent down to the Tennessee area where patients were being flown in.”
Rasso says the first week Impact Life is on call begins on January 24th. Amanda Hess, Vice President, of Donor Relations and Marketing for Impact Life, says local hospitals will still get first need status from Impact Life, however, BERC allows for proactive planning ahead of future emergencies.
Hess says Impact Life is seeking additional community partners who will increase their support in light of needs that may emerge within the BERC network. To schedule a donation or to learn about other ways to partner with ImpactLife, call (800) 747-5401 or go online at bloodcenter.org/partner.