The annual Battle of the Badges blood drive starts today.
Sedgwick County first responders will compete to collect the most blood donations over the next two weeks. Donors can vote for either EMS, Fire or Law Enforcement when they give blood.
Wichita Fire Department Capt. Chris Fleming said the competition allows people to “give the gift of life” for the holidays. It also helps the American Red Cross during a traditionally slow time for blood donations.
“As a member of the Wichita Fire Department, I know firsthand what it feels like to help save a life,” he said. “The amazing thing about the Battle of the Badges is that anybody can donate blood and anybody can become a lifesaver this holiday season.”
The event has collected close to 30,000 blood donations since it began in 1995. The Red Cross said each donation can save up to three lives.
Donating takes about an hour. Visit the Wichita Red Cross location at 707 N. Main to donate.
The Red Cross will accept donations for the competition from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. It will be closed on Sundays and on Christmas Day.
The competition ends Dec. 31. The winning department will be announced Jan. 3 and will receive a trophy.
Ray Strunk is an intern in the KMUW News Lab.