Thursday, 18 July 2024

Lakeport Fire hosts 'Bucket Brigade' blood drive Jan. 16

LAKEPORT – Harsh winter weather and the flu season heighten the need for blood donations and Lakeport Fire Protection District is helping to fill the void.

The Blood Bank of the Redwoods is running its fourth annual Bucket Brigade. The blood bank supports Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties.

Lakeport Fire will host their very first blood drive this Saturday, Jan. 16, right in their truck bay at 445 N. Main St. in Lakeport from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm. Middletown Fire Department’s drive was on Dec. 12.

Last year, Geyserville Fire Department won the Bucket Brigade trophy, but this year Brian Hirscher, vice president of the Lakeport Volunteer Firefighter's Association, hopes to change that.

Hirscher feels the community can come through with more than 102 donors, which is how many Geyserville Fire recruited to win last year’s contest.

“Fire departments are very competitive, in a good way,” he said. “This is something that benefits the community greatly.”

Hirscher encouraged people to register for the donation, even though walk-ins will be happily accepted. There have been times where the community has had such a positive response that the drive was overwhelmed with willing donors, he said.

To register, donors may pay a visit to the station, call Blood Bank of the Redwoods at 707-545-1222, Extension 163, or visit the blood bank’s Web site, .

Donors at Lakeport Fire will receive a light barbecue lunch and a free event T-shirt.

Last year 1,155 people donated blood during the Bucket Brigade from 40 different fire departments through 34 blood drives between the months of November 2008 and January 2009, according to blood bank officials.

“The amount of donors has gone up every year,” said Andrea Casson, account coordinator for Blood Bank of the Redwoods. “The blood is priceless because each unit can help up to three patients, but that’s not where the relief ends. It also affects the lives of those patients’ friends and family.”

A person should only donate one unit, or about one pint, of whole blood each visit, according to the American Association of Bloods Banks. The average person contains 10 pints of blood in his or her body according to their Web site, .

The American Association of Bloods Banks estimated that about 9.5 million people donate blood every year. The average daily national need for blood is approximately 40,000 units.

Although the Bucket Brigade does generate a lot of blood during the winter flu season, winter is not the only time blood is needed.

When high school and college students go out of town for the summer, the need increases, as they're important contributors, said Casson.

But students don’t hold out when blood is needed. High school students alone contribute 20 percent of the blood supply overall, said Kent Corley, fund development manager and Blood Bank of the Redwoods spokesman.

Corley said the blood is used for various reasons including acute blood loss and surgery, gastrointestinal bleeds and oncology.

According to Blood Bank of the Redwoods' Web site, 37 percent of the US population is eligible to donate – yet only 5 percent do on a yearly basis.

Blood Bank of the Redwoods sends people to Lakeport every two to three weeks to conduct blood drives. The most recent was Sunday and was hosted by Wal-Mart in Clearlake. The next drive after the Bucket Brigade is over will be at Grocery Outlet in Lakeport on Jan. 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


The American Association of Bloods Banks recommends that donors be 16 years of age and at least 110 pounds. All donors must also pass physical and health history examinations before being able to donate. Donors should expect to spend more than an hour donating blood.

Only whole blood is being collected at the different fire departments and will be broken down into its three components for storage at the laboratory. An eligible donor can give one pint of blood, which weighs almost a pound, every 56 days, according to the American Association of Bloods Banks.

The blood supplies and demands vary due to unpredictable events and emergencies. Typically blood centers store enough blood for three days and most donations are available 48 hours after being donated, the American Association of Bloods Banks reported.

“When usage is down, we decrease the number of blood drives, so all drives are important,” said Corley. “When the need increases, we add drives. It is a constant balancing act.”

E-mail Tera deVroede at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

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