Next week, the Summit County Ambulance Service celebrates National Emergency Medical Services Week with a community blood drive, free CPR classes and blood pressure checks.
"EMS week is kind of a national holiday for us, in which we celebrate our medical services and the community, enhancing public awareness and understanding," said Summit blood drive organizer and EMT-paramedic John Avery.
"We're just looking forward to giving back to the community that's always been good to us," he said. " We are humbled to be able to provide free CPR classes, wellness checks and our annual blood drive throughout next week."
The Wednesday morning blood drive is important for Summit County because there aren't many opportunities to donate in the High Country, according to Avery. If someone has a rare blood type, it's even more important to give. The supply, which goes to Denver and is then distributed throughout the state, is used for surgeries, massive traumas and blood transfers. There have been serious accidents this year and last that depleted Summit's supply, Avery said.
The drive is being run by Bonfils Blood Center, which has sufficient time and room for 66 people to donate. One pint of blood will be taken per donor.
"Last year we had a great showing of 47 donors, but would like to reach our full capacity this year," Avery said.
There are currently 16 spots reserved.
Next week's free CPR classes are important because it's a skill everyone should have, Avery said.
"It saves lives when we can't be the first responder," he said.
And, the free blood pressure checks are helpful to the public because "not everyone's in tune with their body," Avery said. "If it's high, it's a good indicator to go to a doctor."
> When: 10 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 23
> Where: Summit County Community and Senior Center
> To give blood, a person must be in good general health; weigh at least 115 pounds; be at least 18-years-old, or 17 with written parental consent; have not had a tattoo not performed in a doctor's office in the past 12 months; have not received a body piercing not performed with single-use equipment in the last 12 months; have not traveled to a malarial area in the last 12 months; and can pass a health and lifestyle screening.
> Donors should remember to eat well and drink plenty of water prior to blood draw.
> Reservations to give blood are encouraged. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Bonfils at (800) 365-0006, option 2, or online at www.bonfils.org.
> 8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 22; and 5-9:30 p.m., Thursday May 24 at the senior center.
> 12-1 p.m., Friday, May 25 at City Market in Dillon.