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Battle of the Badges helping with blood shortage

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Published: Dec. 26, 2021 at 7:49 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The holidays are often difficult for blood banks, as there are fewer donations. Meanwhile, there is an increase in accidents due to holiday travel.

To help encourage people to donate, the Sioux Falls Police Department and Sioux Falls Fire Rescue will be having a little competition.

The Battle of the Badges Blood Drive has been going strong for 26 years. The competition begins on December 27th and goes on until January 7th. Both sides compete for bragging rights, with the opportunity to make a life-saving difference.

“We’re experiencing some severe shortages, shortages that we have not seen in the last 10 years,” said Ken Versteeg, Community Blood Bank Executive Director.

The holidays seem to be a time when donations are low, however, the need is great, and the Battle of the Badges helps sustain the blood supply during this time.

“This is a fun competition for us and the fire department to get people to donate during this time of year,” said Officer Bridget Devlin, of the Sioux Falls Police Department. “Remind people that there is a need, they do use a lot of donations every week, about 550 units I think, so it’s to get the blood supply where it needs to be through the holiday season.”

Donating only takes about 30 minutes and one visit could save three lives.

“If we’re going to collect anywhere from 1,000 to 1,200 units of blood at this event that could impact up to 3,600 lives in our community, so that’s a huge, huge amount of blood, and a lot of lives saved,” said Versteeg.

The competition doubles as a way for the community to show their support for the city’s first responders. When you donate blood, cast a vote for either the police or fire department and get a free tee-shirt representing the team you choose to back.

“This is a great way for people to get involved and show your support towards our local heroes, the people that actually keep our community safe on a daily basis, but it’s also a way to show your support to the local patients of the community,” said Versteeg.

Along with bragging rights and a trophy, the two sides are also battling for charity.

SFPD represents the Special Olympics, and SFFR represents the Children’s Home Society.

“The fire department has won way more times than we have, so we would obviously love to win,” said Devlin.

A full list of Battle of the Badges events can be found here.

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