Law enforcement and fire personnel are the first to arrive at emergencies, ready to help. Today they are asking for your help.

First responders are competing to see who can recruit the most blood donors to who will win this year’s bragging rights in the annual Battle of the Badges blood drive in North Platte.

Join them today, Monday Sept. 9, from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Ramada Inn, 2102 S. Jeffers St.

The Nebraska State Patrol, Lincoln County Sheriff, North Platte Fire and EMS, and North Platte Police Department will compete to see who can recruit the most blood donors and donations.

In the past nine drives, donors have given a total of 990 units of blood. The goal for this year’s event is 120 donations. All who come out to donate will receive a free Red Cross tee-shirt, while supplies last.

All blood types are needed. To make an appointment, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or download our blood donor app and use sponsor code NPbattleofbadges.

The need for blood has been heightened by Hurricane Dorian. People outside the affected areas are urged to help by donating, to ensure patients in the storm’s path and around the country have access to lifesaving blood. People can also help by making a financial donation to support relief efforts, the Red Cross said.
Hurricane Dorian has forced the closure of blood donation centers and the cancellation of blood drives in its path, causing blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. When blood donations are disrupted in a region of the country, the Red Cross is able to move blood donations where they are needed most.

Blood donations often do not keep pace with hospital demand. The Red Cross must collect about 400 blood donations every day in Nebraska to meet the needs of patients. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.

All blood types are needed. 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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.