Blood drives at fire station growing in popularity

Number of units collected has doubled since first event in August.
The American Red Cross prepares for a blood drive at Graafschap Fire Department on Thursday, May 30, 2024. Photo by Dave Grumney/Graafschap Fire Department

The blood drives at the Graafschap Fire Department station are becoming more popular, with numbers doubling in the May 30 event.

The first blood drive at the fire station was Aug. 31, 2023, and collected 15 units, according to the American Red Cross.

The second event on Nov. 30, 2023, collected 17 units.

The third event on Feb. 29 collected 32 units and the fourth event on May 30 collected 31 units.

“These are huge wins!” said Scot Dinsmor of the Red Cross.

Each unit can possibly be separated into three parts (red blood cells, plasma, and platelets), meaning the number of patients positively impacted triples.

“Of the 95 units collected in the last year, almost 300 lives were positively affected by the generosity of the residents of Laketown Township,” he said.

The drives that started last summer have been held in the fire department’s meeting room. The increase in donors has made for tight working conditions so the next blood drive will be in the building’s apparatus bay making for a more comfortable workspace with more privacy for donors.

The next blood drive is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 29 at the fire station, 4534 60th St.

For more information on the blood drives, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call (800) RED CROSS (733-2767).

Sally VanEss of the American Red Cross draws blood from Wayne Van Ommen on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, at Graafschap Fire Department station, 4534 60th St. This was the first blood drive at the fire station.

Community Risk Reduction

The blood drives at the fire station are part of a broader community service provided by the fire department.

“Society has placed many new responsibilities on the fire service in the past few decades and our area is not unique in that fact,” said Dave Grumney, Captain, Training & Health/Safety.

“In the past few years, Graafschap Fire Department has realized the importance of community risk reduction and involvement with the community preventing and mitigating issues before they happen,” he said.

The department has free weekly blood pressure checks at the facility from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays.

The department is also engaged in Community Risk Reduction, providing home safety inspections and an expanded smoke/carbon monoxide detector program.

Reflective address signs are made in-house by Graafschap Fire Department retirees. The signs are usually ready for pick up at the fire station after two business days of receiving the order – and the $20 cost is paid at the time of pick-up.

The signs can also be ordered here.

For more information, call the fire department at (616) 396-4060 or visit here.