The New Brighton Department of Public Safety, for at least 15 years, has been hosting Red Cross blood drives.
“It was another opportunity for us to try to really give back to the community and be good partners with the community,” said Officer Trevor Hamdorf.
The department of public safety most recently sponsored a blood drive from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 9.
“We really tap our volunteers of public safety to take care of most of it,” said Hamdorf when asked how the department prepares for blood drives at the facility. Public safety volunteer Dallas Schute is in charge of coordinating the blook drives.
The department of public safety hosts four Red Cross blood drives per year and works with the Red Cross to schedule dates. Donors must wait at least eight weeks (56 days) between blood donations.
Volunteers set up the building, check people in, make sure blood donors are OK after they’ve given blood, and sign people up for the next blood drive. About 10 volunteers assist with each blood drive.
Richard Berg, who works at Business Data Record Services in New Brighton, donated blood on Jan. 9. He said he donates every time the department of public safety hosts a blood drive.
“It’s needed badly at times, and it’s a way to give back to the community,” Berg said when asked why he chooses to donate blood. He added that one day he might be in need of it and encourages others to donate.
Berg said he also donates platelets once every few months. According to the Red Cross, platelets are a vital element of cancer and organ transplant treatments and many surgical procedures because they help prevent massive blood loss.
On average, the four blood drives at the department of public safety generate about 100 units, or pints, of blood. The number of people who donate blood ranges from 20 to 40 people, Hamdorf said, adding that several people were sick with the flu, so they were not able to donate blood on Jan. 9.
“The Red Cross really does a good job of making the blood supply safe, so if people are ill at all, they can’t donate,” he said.
One of the best turnouts for a blood drive occurred on Nov. 5 after the department of public safety announced that, due to the impact of Hurricane Sandy, the injuries caused and the resources required to respond, there was a critical shortage of blood available to those in need.
Hamdorf said 33 units of blood were collected, and the department aims for about 25 units of blood for each drive. Many of the people who donate are public safety staff and other city staff.
“Giving blood is terribly important for people who are affected by vehicle crashes and other medical issues,” he said. “It really does save lives. We deal with the incident itself and this is a way for us to help people beyond the initial call.
“If people didn’t host blood drives and didn’t go through the effort, the nation would basically run out of blood. … Every single unit of blood that’s collected goes right to somebody and saves somebody’s life,” Hamdorf said.
Blood donations are delivered to a Red Cross blood component laboratory where they are processed into components such as red blood cells and plasma. A single blood donation may help up to three different people.
The department of public safety notifies the community about upcoming blood drives by posting fliers, posting messages on their Facebook page and sending emails. They also call people to remind them, if they’ve signed up to donate blood.
To sign up for the department of public safety’s emaill list, go to ci.new-brighton.mn.us and click the Public Safety tab to be directed to their site.
Contact Kassie Petermann at [email protected]