Bucket Brigade next for RPDPS
RP looking to halt Windsor win streak
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By Natalie Gray  January 10, 2014 12:00 am

A little friendly competition never hurt anyone and, in this case, it will actually help save a few lives.

The Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety’s fire division on Jan. 17 will host the annual Bucket Brigade Blood Drive, sponsored by Blood Centers of the Pacific. This is the city’s eighth year participating in the blood drive. 

This drive is a little different than most come-and-go blood drives. First, this is a rolling blood drive, sweeping through the towns in Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties, stopping at the fire departments a day at a time, collecting blood from local citizen volunteers.

The second way this drive is different is in the fact that it is a competition, with the prize of a shiny trophy to sit in the winning department’s station for the year. The stations only have a day to collect blood and results depend entirely on the communities’ volunteers.

According to Lieutenant Mike Bates, who is heading the drive, Windsor Fire Department has won for the past few years. Last year, 15 fire departments participated. Windsor won first place with 34 donors participating in their drive.

Rohnert Park lagged behind with only 31 donors with 27 units of blood donated (and did not even make the first through fifth place list). Those few donors, though, helped saved 81 lives in Sonoma locally last year, said Bates.

Bates admitted that, though the fire department is hosting the blood drive and responsible for trying to spread the word and attract donors, it is the Blood Centers of the Pacific that run the entire event.

The Blood Centers send a truck that day to the station, where they set up and begin collecting blood from donors at 10 a.m. There is no testing required of a donor or their blood before giving. The Blood Centers ask, however, that a donor arrive hydrated and well nourished before giving blood. According to Bates, those who donate will receive a free t-shirt and a voucher for $50 to a Hornblower Cruise of San Francisco brunch.

The Rohnert Park day for the Bucket Brigade Blood Drive will be Jan. 17, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Fire Station 2, 5200 Country Club Dr. All are welcome to participate and you can even reserve a time to donate blood online at www.bloodheroes.com. 

To punch up their game, the department is hosting a raffle that includes a prize of a ride-along in a fire truck. You do not need to provide any medical records prior to donating blood and can leave feeling assured that your blood will go to help lives locally (and with a new, free shirt). 

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