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July 4, 2020
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Donate blood at the 14th annual Bucket Brigade Blood Drive Challenge

December 6, 2019

Friendly competition between Fire Departments in Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma counties helps transform lives

During December and January, blood donors can participate in the 14th Annual Bucket Brigade Blood Drive Challenge and impact the lives of patients in area hospitals. Participants receive a special 14th Annual Bucket Brigade T-shirt and can help their local fire department win the friendly challenge. 

Vitalant (formerly Blood Centers of the Pacific), in partnership with 21 fire departments across Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties, is proud to announce the 14th Annual Bucket Brigade Blood Drive Challenge. The Bucket Brigade Challenge is a friendly competition among participating fire departments to see which department can host the largest blood drive by enlisting firefighters, friends, family and members of the community to donate lifesaving blood during the holiday season.

“We are grateful to our firefighters and community members in Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma Counties for their support in helping us meet the blood needs of Bay Area patients” said Fred McFadden, Regional Director, Vitalant, San Francisco Bay Area. “The months of December and January are two of our most challenging periods of the year when it comes to ensuring hospitals have the blood they need for patient care. Last year the Bucket Brigade blood drives accounted for 20 percent of all red cell units Vitalant collected in the Region during that time. This is an INCREDIBLE achievement by our Bucket Brigade Blood Drive participants and we hope to see the same support this season. Thank you all for the lifesaving difference you make to patients needing blood.”

It is vital to continuously replenish the blood supply so we are ready when circumstances hinder the ability to collect blood. In addition, there are times when the need for blood increases and we, as a community need to be ready. Having an adequate blood supply throughout the year ensures we can meet the needs of patients every day. Every winter, blood banks face challenges on a national level. From the holidays, to flu season to winter storms, blood donations are negatively impacted. Schools are on break and many people take time off from work thus many of our usual blood drive hosts take a “break”. It is common that multiple blood banks experience a drop in donations over the holidays which can lead to shortages. 

Since 2006, fire departments participating in the Bucket Brigade Challenge have recruited more than 10,000 participants who donated thousands of units of blood for patients in Northern California hospitals. Last year, Healdsburg Fire Department took home the coveted Bucket Trophy with 99 participants. An amazing 855 people attended Bucket Brigade blood drives in the 13th season, and 847 units of life saving blood were collected. 

“Everybody has been so thankful to our local firefighters for the work they did on the Kincade fire, and we are appreciative of that,” said Jason Boaz, Fire Chief, Healdsburg Fire Department. “One thing they can do to show their support and help our community is to donate blood at our Bucket Brigade blood drive. Their donations will help save lives, which is always our first priority.” 

Historically, the Bucket Brigade idea comes from the Great London Fire of 1666 that found community members in “brigades” as they passed buckets of water from the city’s water supply to the blaze that endangered their town and community. Vitalant Recruitment Manager Andrea Casson brought these participating fire departments together 14 years ago with the idea of “creating a modern Bucket Brigade that gathers our community in an effort to save lives through blood donations.”

Multiple fire departments are hosting blood drives. To find one near you, please see the complete list below. To make an appointment, visit www.vitalant.org/bucketbrigade or call 877-258-4425. For your donation, please arrive well-hydrated, well-nourished, and with photo ID. For eligibility information, visit www.vitalant.org.

14th Annual Bucket Brigade Blood Drive List

Rohnert Park Department of Saturday, January 4, 2020 9 a.m.–2 p.m. 

Public Safety Fire Station: 5200 Country Club Dr., Rohnert Park