For the third year in a row the Norristown Police Department and Norristown Fire Department will go head-to-head against the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office for the “Battle of the Badges” blood drive hosted by the American Red Cross on June 9.
The friendly competition among the first responders looks to see which department will voluntarily donate the most blood (NPD and NFD have been undefeated so far).
“Like in years previous, I look forward to this opportunity to partner up with our law enforcement partners and again host this friendly competition and Battle of the Badges Blood Drive with the American Red Cross,” said Norristown Fire Chief Tom O’Donnell. “The real winners are those who need these all important blood donations.”
Given the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus COVID-19, essential workers like first responders have been on the frontline every day in fledgling efforts to help keep communities around the country safe. The 2020 battle is in honor of all first responders in Montgomery County.
“This year we’re going for the Hometown Hero aspect for our first responders,” said Norristown Police Lt. Michael Bishop. “We want members of the community to help our first responders so they can be a Hometown Hero, too.”
Support from the Norristown-based agencies for “Battle of the Badges” is a portion of the community-wide effort to help replenish the Red Cross’s supply of blood donations. When the outbreak of COVID-19 started putting the country on lockdown, over 2,500 blood drives across the country were canceled by March 17 according to the Red Cross, creating a “severe blood shortage.”
COVID-19 is not transmissible by blood according to the Red Cross and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the latter adding that no transmission has yet occurred through blood transfusion.
The Red Cross has implemented new measures to ensure blood drives and donation centers are even safer for our donors and staff, including:
- Checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they are healthy
- Providing hand sanitizer for use before the drive, as well as throughout the donation process
- Spacing beds, where possible, to follow social distancing practices between blood donors, and
- Increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.
At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees already follow thorough safety protocols to help prevent the spread of any type of infection, including:
- Wearing gloves and changing gloves with each donor
- Routinely wiping down donor-touched areas
- Using sterile collection sets for every donation, and
- Preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub
The Red Cross has asked donors to bring and wear their own face masks when making a donation. If a donor does not have a mask, the Red Cross will provide one. If a donor does not want to wear a mask, they ask they postpone their donation for a later date.
Any person eligible to donate blood for the “Battle of the Badges” blood drive may do so at the Norristown Recreation Center at 340 Harding Blvd. on June 9 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can sign up online at www.redcrossblood.org by searching the zip code 19401 or use the sponsor code Norristown BOB. Call the American Red Cross with questions at 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).