OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps has activated, sending extra blood units in response to the school shooting that took place at Oxford High School.

OXFORD, MICHIGAN – DECEMBER 01: A makeshift memorial sits outside of Oxford High School on December 01, 2021 in Oxford, Michigan. Yesterday, four students were killed and seven injured when student Ethan Crumbley allegedly opened fire on fellow students at the school. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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The blood will be used to assist Versiti, the blood center that serves the area, and to meet the immediate medical needs of the eight remaining victims.

The response marks the second time BERC has activated since its launch in September. The program – which comprises 21 blood centers serving more than 30 states – is the nation’s only safety net for emergency situations requiring immediate transfusion care.

Through BERC, blood centers prepare for emergency needs by collecting extra blood products on a rotating on-call schedule. Central Pennsylvania Blood BankCoastal Bend Blood Center and Oklahoma Blood Institute were the responding blood centers for this emergency activation.

“Situations like these are exactly why BERC was formed,” said Dr. John Armitage, president and CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute. “When the blood needs are great and immediate after tragic events like this, we can act swiftly and decisively to ensure patients have access to the blood products they need.”

The United States continues to experience a nationwide blood shortage as a result of increased need for blood products and declining donation levels. As a result, most blood centers are operating with little-to-no safety net of available blood units for emergency situations.

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“Nearly every community is at risk for its blood supply being severely depleted in the face of a mass casualty event,” said Nelson Hellwig, CEO of the Alliance for Community Transfusion Services (ACTS), which coordinates BERC logistics and administration. “Through BERC, we are providing the transfusion safety net that provides hope and healing during the darkest times.”

The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps was founded in 2021 to meet the immediate transfusion needs of partner centers when faced with a large-scale emergency situation that requires blood transfusions. To learn more and see a list of participating blood centers, visit bloodemergencyreadinesscorps.org.

Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank is a not-for-profit, community based blood program, committed to providing a quality blood supply, responsive to community needs, in a cost effective manner. For more information, visit cpbb.org.

The Coastal Bend Blood Center covers 10 counties and 20 medical facilities in the Coastal Bend Region. The Blood Center is a proud partner in overseeing the healthcare of the Coastal Bend and will continue to do its part to guarantee that the community’s blood needs are met. For more information, visit coastalbendbloodcenter.org.

Oklahoma Blood Institute is the 6th-largest independent blood center in the nation, providing more than 90% of Oklahoma’s blood supply to over 160 hospitals and medical facilities. For more information, visit obi.org.

The Alliance for Community Transfusion Services (ACTS), a nonprofit organization, is a strategic and operational alliance of self-directed, independent community blood centers that model the values of community blood banking and support one another through group initiatives, shared resources, and collective expertise. For more information, visit actscorp.org.

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