We tend to think of firefighters are the definition of true heroes, risking life and limb to save residents (and pets) from burning buildings, flaming cars and other emergency situations. But, even when there’s no fire to summon them, many local departments are committed to bettering the communities they serve with events like toy and blood drives.
Today, the Mamaro Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 will hold their third annual blood drive at 146 Palmer Ave. from 3-8 p.m. to benefit the American Red Cross.
The fire department collected 77 pints of blood their inaugural year, with well over 100 people showing up to the event. Last year’s blood drive has a slightly lower turnout, with approximately 75 potential donors and a total of 55 pints of blood collected, said firefighter Dan Betker.
Due to its rarity among the general population, Type O negative blood is typically the type in greatest demand, according to the American Red Cross; Type O negative people are considered universal donors as their blood can be transfused to anyone, regardless of blood type. Approximately 8 percent of Caucasians, 4 percent of African-Americans and Hispanics and 1 percent of Asians have Type O negative blood, according to Red Cross statistics.
In addition to regular donations, the Mamaroneck FD will also be collecting for double red cell contributions, a process which allows for two units of red blood cells—the most commonly utilized blood product—to be collected. The process takes slightly longer—30-35 minutes—while an apheresis machine collects and separates red blood cells from plasma and platelets, the latter of which are returned to the donor.
“If you are an eligible Type O, A Negative or B Negative you are strongly encouraged to participate in that,” said Betker.
The need for blood is ongoing, with a total of 16 million donations collected each year, according to 2006 Red Cross statistics.
“There is always a need for blood. Red blood cells last for 42 days before they are not useable any longer. The American Red Cross has provided statistics saying that every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. One donation can help save or sustain up to three lives and more than 38,000 blood donations are needed everyday,” said Betker.
The blood drive will be held from 3-8 p.m. at 146 Palmer Ave., 3rd floor on the Mamaro side of the building. Donors can enter the building from the Prospect Avenue side or the Palmer Avenue apparatus floor entrance.