Many blood drives were canceled due to COVID-19. Local firefighters saw the need and decided to help.
As hundreds of blood drives were canceled due to the coronavirus across the U.S., Ormond Beach firefighters responded to the need by hosting one at Fire Station 92 on Friday, April 10.
About two weeks ago, the Ormond Beach International Association of Firefighters 3499 was brainstorming ways to help the community beyond their everyday service, said Union President Bill Baranowski. One of the firefighters suggested holding a blood drive, and the idea hit home with Baranowski.
A month ago, his mom was in need of a blood transfusion after becoming anemic while in the hospital. Luckily, she received it.
“It’s not something that is just for car accidents or some huge traumatic event," Baranowski said. "People need blood transfusions all the time.”
Pat Michaels, OneBlood spokesperson, said many blood drives were canceled in the recent weeks because they were to be held at local high schools and universities — which make up 18% of the number of blood drives — or were part of scheduled events.
“So when that happens, that’s a big drop-off," Michaels said. "We’re very appreciative of Ormond Beach Fire doing this because it keeps us with a healthy blood supply going through the pandemic.”
That is important, he explained. OneBlood serves 250 hospitals in the southeast U.S., and major surgeries aren't stopping because of the pandemic.
“Even though hospitals are strained, a lot of people who are there need transfusions for different blood components, whether it be red blood cells, plasma or platelets,' he said.
He said OneBlood is happy people are responding to the need and that community partners are stepping up to host drives.
“Blood donors really are lifesavers, and we appreciate everyone doing this during the pandemic," Michaels said.
Firefighters get into their line of work because they want to help people, Baranowski said. This is no different.
"That’s just the core of what we do," Baranowski said.