For the Miami Valley Today
DAYTON — Community Blood Center has joined 30 blood centers across the nation in forming the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC). BERC is an alliance that will better ensure CBC’s regional blood supply following multiple injury, mass transfusion events and position CBC to provide crisis support outside the region.
CBC is the sole supplier of blood products to hospitals in 17 counties in western Ohio and eastern Indiana. Blood centers in the BERC partnership commit to storing extra units on a rotating “on call” schedule to be available for BERC members for immediate emergency need.
CBC will formally announce the BERC alliance Wednesday, April 27, at 10 a.m. at the Centerville Police Department, 155 West Spring Valley Pike in Centerville. The announcement will take place during the 25th annual Officer John P. Kalaman Memorial Blood Drive, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the CPD Training Room.
“We are proud to join other independent blood centers across the country on the BERC team,” said CBC/CTS COO Diane Wilson. “Our mission as the region’s exclusive blood supplier does not change. What will change is our ability to better handle events in our area that require many transfusions within a short period of time. Our collaboration with BERC helps provide that assurance.”
CBC will be on call for seven days during a three-week rotating schedule. CBC’s first rotation was April 4, and is followed by rotations April 25, May 16, June 6, June 27 and July 18.
When on call CBC will set aside 10 units of type O positive blood and four units of type O negative for possible deployment through BERC. If the units are not used, they return to regular inventory for local distribution.
Mass transfusion 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. The BERC system is not intended to address blood shortages from seasonal or weather-related interruptions in blood collection.
Blood collection rates have dropped significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic and most blood centers do not have enough blood on their shelves to handle mass transfusion disasters.
Before BERC, blood centers in emergency need requested units from neighboring blood centers with the hope that excess blood was available. BERC assures that blood is ready to be shipped without delay or uncertainty.
Since its formation in September 2021, BERC has responded to three mass casualty events in Tennessee, Kentucky and Michigan.
“Our mission to provide blood locally, but I know that in times of national crisis our donors are eager to help, wherever they may be,” Wilson said. “Joining BERC creates that opportunity. If local donors want to help, we ask that you continue to donate on a regular basis. Ask others to do the same. That way we will be ready when tragedy strikes.”
Find a blood drive near you and make an appointment to give at www.DonorTime.com.
Blood donation requirements: Donors are required to provide a photo ID that includes their full name. Past CBC donors are also asked to bring their CBC donor ID card. Donors must be at least 17 years of age (16 years old with parental consent: form available at www.givingblood.org or at the Dayton CBC and mobile blood drive locations), weigh a minimum of 110 pounds (you may have to weigh more depending on your height), and be in good physical health. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changes blood donor eligibility guidelines periodically. Individuals with eligibility questions can email [email protected] or call (937) 461-3220. Make an appointment at www.DonorTime.com.
Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services is an independent, not-for-profit organization. Community Blood Center provides blood products to partner hospitals and health centers within its 15-county service area of western Ohio and eastern Indiana and to select hospitals and blood centers outside the region. For more information visit www.givingblood.org.