Coffee Memorial helps create Blood Emergency Readiness Corps, nation’s first emergency blood reserve

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — To help stabilize an unsteady and volatile blood supply, Coffee Memorial Blood Center (CMBC) helped create a nationwide partnership to send blood to mass-need areas.

The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC) is a first-of-its-kind alliance comprised of seven participating blood centers from five states. CMBC told KAMR the centers collect blood units on a rotating, on-call schedule. The extra units set aside specifically for critical-need events.

“This was created so when there’s mass shootings or a horrible, horrible car accident where lots of blood is needed, we have got other blood banks that have agreed to put a certain amounts of units to the side, that is reserved for emergencies,” said Misti Newsome, CMBC Donor Recruitment Coordinator & Events Manager.

CMBC officials tell us the national network is expected to rapidly expand.

According to CMBC, the six other participating BERC blood centers are:

  • Carter BloodCare, Dallas-Fort Worth
  • Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank, Hummelstown, PA
  • The Community Blood Center, Appleton, WI
  • Houchin Community Blood Bank, Bakersfield, CA
  • Oklahoma Blood Institute, Oklahoma City, OK
  • South Texas Blood & Tissue center, San Antonio, TX
  • We Are Blood, Austin, TX

CMBC helped found BERC as a proactive measure in emergency planning. Newsome said the nation’s recent blood shortage put added strain on an already struggling national network. That strain magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The importance of the BERC is that, hopefully if a national disaster like that happens, or a mass shooting unfortunately, then we’re not scattered and looking for that blood, begging donors, ‘please come in right this moment, we need you right away’,” she said.

Newsome added CMBC needs about 125 blood units a day to serve the entire High Plains area. Although BERC will go a long way in blood supply in critical scenarios, donations are still needed on a daily basis.

“We’ll still ask people to come in because we’re always going to need that reserve, but the fact that it’s already on the shelf, it’s already marked for national disaster, we all know we’ve got that set amount of units to the side for that emergency.”

All blood types are needed, Newsome said, especially Type O negative.

For more information on how you can donate blood, including hours, times and eligibility, click here.

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