First responders roll up their sleeves for blood services

Saanich Police and firefighters help raise awareness of the need for blood donations

Capt. Jerry Tomljenovic with Saanich Fire donates blood with the help of Hope Strang from Canadian Blood Services.

Saanich’s first responders know what it’s like to be relied upon by the community in times of crisis. Last week four of Saanich’s finest rolled up their sleeves to once again respond to the community’s need.

It may not technically be a crisis, but there is always a critical need for blood in Greater Victoria and around the province. To answer that call, members of the Saanich police and fire departments stopped by Canadian Blood Services to donate their blood.

“We are forever counting on that people have donated blood and now we want to support that ourselves. We see on a daily basis how much it’s needed,” said Const. Dani Frohloff with Saanich Police.

“I actually have a dual purpose here today because it’s Random Acts of Kindness Day. Number 65 on the list is donating blood, so we’re doing both today.”

Capt. Jerry Tomljenovic with Saanich Fire said donating blood is one of the most important gifts you can give to not only improve health but save lives.

“Day in and day out, we see the effects of what trauma can do and the benefits of having a steady supply of blood. It’s a very efficient process and a very worthwhile cause,” said Tomljenovic.

The firefighters and police officers stopped by Canadian Blood Services at the culmination of their Sirens For Life campaign. During the campaign, blood donors are given the opportunity to say thanks to first responders for the important work they do.

“We’ve created a wall of thanks. It’s just message from donors to say thank you to our first responders,” said Ann Chabert, territory manager with Canadian Blood Services.

Canadian Blood Services needs about 170,000 additional donors per year to maintain the national blood supply.

“The need for blood is the same in every community. The need is every day, we need donors every day,” said Chabert.

It can take up to 50 donors to help a single motor vehicle accident victim. And while about half of all Canadians are eligible to give blood, last year only one in 60 eligible donors made a commitment to give.

Sgt. Steve Eassie said first responders know the life-saving impact blood donations can have and are happy to answer the call to raise awareness. “It’s a reminder to us as well that if we’re able to we should be coming in to donate blood,” he said.

Blood donations can be made at Canadian Blood Services (3449 Saanich Rd.) Tuesday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and every other Saturday (next on Nov. 21) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.