SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (CBCO) is joining with 30 other independent blood centers in the United States to be a part of the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC).

CBCO said the partnership will create more protection for the blood needs of the region and will give blood donors in the Springfield area the chance to help in times of crisis.

The BERC works like this, according to a news release from CBCO: Blood centers commit to storing extra units on a rotating “on-call” schedule to create an available supply of blood for emergency needs. When CBCO is on call, they will set aside around 15 units of O Negative and O Positive blood for possible deployment through BERC.

If the units are not used, they will be put back into the regular inventory for local distribution. 

In disasters such as a mass shooting, tornado, or large car crash, a great deal of blood might be needed immediately. Since nationwide, donation rates are down, most blood centers do not have enough blood on hand to fill emergency needs. BERC will ensure blood is available when needed.

Before BERC, blood centers facing a mass need event have relied on other blood centers to send additional units from their available inventory – but only if those centers had extra blood to share.

Now, participating BERC members will store blood on a three-week rotating schedule. If needed, that blood will be offered to other parts of the country in response to a mass transfusion event.

Since its formation in September of 2021, BERC has already responded to three mass casualty events in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Michigan.

CBCO’s Executive Director said the center is proud to join other blood centers to help in times of need.

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks is the sole supplier of blood to 44 area healthcare facilities. If you are interested in donating blood, you can make an appointment online.