Blood bank joins new partnership to address supply for major events

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — More donated blood stands to be available locally and nationwide for major incidents – like a tornado or mass shooting – thanks to a new partnership of blood banks.

ImpactLife – based in Iowa with an donation office in Urbana – has joined the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC). Formed last year, BERC is a coalition of 26 blood banks across 33 states. The blood banks – three at a time – will set aside blood for one week in case of a major incident where many transfusions are needed. If that happens, the blood will be transported to the impacted area. If no major event occurs, the blood goes back into the blood bank’s general supply.

Photo provided by ImpactLife

“We’ve always had this ability and this communication among other blood centers nationally to send units of blood where they are needed. But in the past, it was on the based of what we hoped might be available. It would depend how the local supply is,” said ImpactLife spokesperson Kirby Winn. “In this case, we’re taking the proactive step to tell ourselves and tell other members of BERC that we’re accountable for those units of blood.”

The BERC website showed three “activations” since the partnership launched. The most recent came on December 11, 2021, after a tornado outbreak hit several states. ImpactLife has not been “on call” to provide blood for any of the activations.

ImpactLife – formerly Community Blood Services – serves 126 hospitals in Illinois (including East Central Illinois), Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

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