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Seattle blood banks step in to help after Texas school shooting

Thirty regional blood centers are now in a rotation to provide a ration of blood when the need arises.

SEATTLE — The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps was founded in 2021 to meet the immediate transfusion needs of hospitals and their patients when faced with a large-scale emergency situation that require blood transfusions.  

Thirty regional blood centers are now in a rotation to provide a ration of blood when the need arises.  

Bloodworks Northwest in Seattle joined the Readiness Corps. Spokesperson John Yeager said it’s basically an insurance plan and a tangible way to make an impact on a tragic situation.  

“Are we able to answer the call? Well, you need enough money to buy the insurance and in this case you need to have enough blood in the blood bank to answer that call,” he said.  

The call was made in the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas this week.  

“It’s fifteen units from each blood bank and that may not sound like much but when you add them all up together it’s enough to handle emergencies like what happened this week in Texas,” Yeager said.

The plan is already in action and in a few weeks it will be Seattle’s turn in the rotation to provide reserves, so blood banks will soon need donations, Yeager said.

Local restaurant owner and Chef Preeti Agarwal scheduled blood donations with her husband and said it’s the least we can do.  

“I read in the hallway where it said ‘people helping people,’ and its as simple as that,” Agarwal said.

Agarwal owns Meesha and Kricket Club and has been leading the charge with other restaurant workers for the “Savor life, save a life” campaign with Bloodworks. It’s an awareness campaign with many restaurants offering discounts for blood donors. The goal is to encourage 10,000 donations by the end of June, but the campaign found a new, urgent purpose after the tragedy in Texas.  

“The pandemic has already taught us how valuable life is and we all need blood so it really is the least we all can do to help."

The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps was activated for a mass shooting at a grocery store in Tennessee in September of 2021, again in December for a school shooting in Michigan, and a week later for tornado relief in Kentucky.

Following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, BERC sent blood products to South Texas Blood & Tissue. Several blood centers are still on call.  

Bloodworks is looking to build up donations for their turn in providing critical emergency reserves.

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