Police, fire officials donate blood

Red Deer Fire Chief Jack MacDonald and City RCMP Insp. Warren Dosko rolled up their sleeves in the official launch of the fifth annual Sirens for Life blood donor campaign in Red Deer on Friday.

Registered nurse Elaine Howell works on fire chief Jack MacDonald while RCMP Supt. Warren Dosko awaits his turn at Canadian Blood Services Friday.

Registered nurse Elaine Howell works on fire chief Jack MacDonald while RCMP Supt. Warren Dosko awaits his turn at Canadian Blood Services Friday.

Red Deer Fire Chief Jack MacDonald and City RCMP Insp. Warren Dosko rolled up their sleeves in the official launch of the fifth annual Sirens for Life blood donor campaign in Red Deer on Friday.

In past years, the blood drive was a competition between the police force and emergency services crews.

Jenny Spurr, community development co-ordinator with Canadian Blood Services, said this year they wanted to shake things up and bring the two forces together for a common goal.

“We really wanted to emphasize that both of these departments see the need for blood first hand as they work side by side and often hand in hand in the community,” said Spurr.

Last year, the blood drive competition brought in roughly 400 donations.

This year, they have raised the stakes to a 500-blood-donation goal.

Spurr is hopeful this will be a snap because the campaign follows a surprisingly strong Christmas season for donations.

The season is traditionally low for donations with blood donations usually the last thing on most people’s minds during the busy holiday rush.

“This year, we had a great showing from the Red Deer community,” said Spurr.

“We were able to hit our monthly target so we are hoping to keep that momentum going into January to ensure we have a strong supply for all the patients that need it.”

The clinic collected roughly 1,000 blood donations in December.

In 2011, the clinic collected 10,542 donations, of which nearly 3,000 were from the Partners for Life program, a donation pledge program for businesses and groups.

Personnel from the police and fire departments, their friends and family are expected to donate.

The campaign runs from Jan. 3 to 31.

Members of the public are also invited to donate.

Call 1-888-2-DONATE (6283) for clinic hours, eligibility information or to book an appointment. Book online at www.blood.ca.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com