WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita and Sedgwick County firefighters won the 27th annual Battle of the Badges.
It’s the third straight year the fire departments have lifted the trophy, beating out law enforcement and EMS in the competition. With first responders’ efforts and donors’ generosity, the Red Cross of South Central and Southeast Kansas collected more than 1,400 donations from Dec. 13 through Jan. 2, 120% of its goal for the blood drive.
“Every 2 seconds someone in the United States needs blood. That’s a staggering statistic that impacts our lives every single day,” said Wichita Fire Capt. Chris Fleming, who is also a member of the Battle of the Badges committee. “Without the work of the Red Cross and volunteer donors across Kansas, blood would not be available when it is needed most.”
There’s traditionally a dip in blood donations around the holidays. The situation is worse because of the lingering impact of COVID-19. There was a 34% drop in new blood donors last year, one of the largest on record. That’s contributed to a blood shortage that could threaten essential medical care for patients.
“We appreciate our first responders’ help encouraging people to donate blood at a time when it’s needed most,” said Michelle Jantz, Red Cross regional donor services executive. “The gift of life through a blood donation will help a person who is likely having one of their worst days.