Nova Scotia

First responders compete to boost blood donations

With blood donations down across the country, some first responders in Sydney, N.S. have a friendly competition going to see which group can donate the most.

Canadian Blood Services says country facing 'concerning' blood shortage

The Sirens for Life program is a challenge between the police, paramedics, RCMP, fire departments and the Coast Guard College. (Toby Talbot/Associated Press)

With blood donations down across the country, some first responders in Sydney, N.S. have a friendly competition going to see which group can donate the most.

The Sirens for Life program is a challenge between the police, paramedics, RCMP, fire departments and the Coast Guard College.

"These are the individuals who are the first on the scenes. They are our local heroes who help save lives everyday, so they see first-hand the need for blood," said Kathy Gracie, the program’s coordinator.  

Clinic supervisor Mary Ann Gotell said the blood donation clinic is not as busy as it should be.

"It’s a two-fold challenge...people are enjoying the summer, the weather is beautiful and that decreases our donations but the need increases in the summertime and we want to make sure that there is enough blood there in the fall," she said.

Canadian Blood Services announced earlier this week that the country is facing a "concerning" shortage of blood due to fewer donations this summer and a constant demand from hospitals.

The not-for-profit organization said more than 50,000 donations are needed between now and Labour Day to keep blood inventories at "an acceptable level."

Shivam Narinesingh, one of the cadets from the Coast Guard who decided to take part, said it's worth his time to donate.

"When you have people in your life who've been affected and who received blood it makes it even more important for you to go and give," he said.

He also has something to say to those not sure if they want to give blood.

"Face your fears, it's for a good cause. You might like it and you get good snacks at the end too," he said.

The Sirens for Life challenge runs until the end of August.

now