Clay County EMS Week Holds Local Blood Drive and Shares the Importance of Donating

Clay County Emergency Medical Services held EMS Week from May 21st-May 27th this year. It consisted of a variety of events, from a community walk at the local utility park walking trail, to various community education events. One of the events was a Blood Drive held at the Catholic Parish Center.

This year, fifty-four donors attended. “It was a smaller turnout than we’ve had recently, however, May is a busy month and we tend to have fewer people,” said Kristi Ingalls, an account manager at the American Red Cross. A total of forty-eight pints were collected. The goal was forty-nine, so while it was close, they didn’t quite meet the number they had hoped for.

When asked what blood type is needed the most, Ingalls shared that all blood types are needed. “We especially need type 0- as that is the universal donor and can be given to anyone in an emergency situation. O+ can go to 85% of the population.”

The most important thing to remember before donating blood is to make sure you are hydrated. Donors should drink at least eight, eight oz glasses of water for two days prior to donating. Iron rich foods are also important. Both of these things are key to a successful donation, and allow donors to feel better after donating blood.

If you have never donated blood, there are a few things you should expect. The day of donors will fill out a RapidPass before donating. This can be found at  The RapidPass allows potential donors to figure out if they are eligible to give blood, and makes the process move more quickly. A photo ID like a driver’s license is needed. Once a mini health physical is complete, the donation can start.

Donation itself only takes about 5-10 minutes, but how hydrated you are does play a factor in this. After donating, you can grab a snack and drink. Donors can expect to be there for about an hour by the time the whole process is complete. “In that hour of time, they’re able to help save the lives of up to 3 separate hospital patients.”

So why is donating blood so important? Ingalls said, “Every 2 seconds someone in the United States needs blood. It’s important that blood is on the shelves, ready for them.” Just by donating every 56 days, you are helping countless patients that could need blood for a variety of reasons, from surgeries, to gun shot wounds, to car accidents. It takes 48 hours after blood is donated to be tested and ready to give to patients, so that’s why donating regularly is so crucial.

If you are interested in donating blood, you can sign up at or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS (733-2767).

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