With lights flashing and sirens blaring, McPherson police, fire and emergency medical services personnel often arrive first at emergencies, always ready to help. Local first responders will also help ensure blood is available during medical emergencies by partnering with the American Red Cross for the upcoming 10th annual Battle of the Badges blood drive from noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 7 and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 8 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 119 N. Elm St. in McPherson.

During the annual Battle of the Badges blood drive, McPherson first responders will compete to see who can recruit the most blood donors. Everyone who comes to give can cast a vote to determine who will win this year’s bragging rights.

“Thanks to our community first responders for not only keeping the community safe, but also helping with blood collection this summer,” said Jan Hale, communications manager of the Central Plains Blood Services Region. “The Battle of the Badges Blood Drive offers a way for McPherson residents to support these local heroes and help save a life by giving blood.”

Only about 3 percent of the U.S. population gives blood, which means a heavy reliance on repeat donors to maintain a sufficient blood supply. New blood donors are especially needed during the summer months because many schools where blood drives are held – and where new donors give – are not in session, and current donors often delay giving due to summer vacations. 

To make an appointment for the McPherson Battle of the Badges, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

To donate, simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families.

The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.