During a global pandemic, you have to prioritize what is essential and what can wait till later.
Local patients and those around the nation that are in need of blood can’t wait for the COVID-19 concerns to end to receive the blood they need.
Senior Airman Dakota Edwards, 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, helped ensure blood donations from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., continued to flow.
As the American Red Cross representative for the 355th Maintenance Group she and Davis-Monthan leadership set out to find a way to safely host a blood drive that met all the Department of Defense and American Red Cross requirements set in place to keep everyone safe from COVID-19.
“We had to have a lot of communication and make sure we were reaching out through the proper avenues,” said Edwards. “We needed to have a space that we could hold it in a safe manor and abide by the social distancing guidance.”
After the proper coordination and social media/email recruiting techniques Edwards and the American Red Cross were able to host a blood drive at Davis-Monthan, April 21, 2020. The event attracted enough donors to fill every appointment slot available.
“The need for blood has been the same as it’s always been,” said Samantha Bivens, American Red Cross donor recruitment department manager. “But due to COVID-19 people have had to cancel blood drives. So there wasn’t a place for us to go which created the blood shortage.”
Edwards and Bivens worked together to set up the blood drive at the Benko Fitness Center, where all 66 donors came, this will equate to 198 lives saved. In order for this to happen they had to ensure everyone was as safe as possible. Precautionary steps included checking staff members and donor’s temperatures, wearing protective gear to include facemasks, maintained a six foot distance between the beds, provided hand sanitizer and consistently wiped equipment with disinfectant wipes.
“It’s nice to know your giving to something bigger than yourself,” said Edwards. “And with the American Red cross they do everything they can to keep the blood in our local community.”