by Lisa Bloch, Director of Communications, avid NPR listener, and lover of all things creepy and ghoulish
What’s scarier than a haunted house, Count Dracula or eating way too much candy this Halloween?
Blood shortages (and that’s all year through)!
While everyone’s thinking candy corn, costumes and trick-or-treating, BCP’s thinking constantly of something that’s frightfully true – less than 4 percent of people donate blood.
Vampire Barbara Mendoza of Boston Properties was one of the many blood drive coordinators who helped us out this Halloween. Organizing a blood drive at the Embarcadero Center, donors - we call them everyday heroes - came to help save lives and to enter the Costume Contest! All donors were also entered into a raffle to win some cool prizes.
To Barbara Mendoza, all our blood drive coordinators and blood donors, we’d like to say, “Fangs a lot” (oh, that was corny … maybe candy corny?) and here’s wishing y’all a Safe and Happy Halloween!
Donating blood…it’s not as scary as you think!
Donate blood on Friday or Saturday (October 30 + 31) at any of our centers and receive a “Blood Energy Potion” novelty drink*. It’s true!
These one-of-a-kind “blood potion” drinks look just like the blood bag you fill up every time you donate and are really drinkable.
So come on in—- if you dare!
*while supplies last
by Christina Mihalas, BCP Recruitment Supervisor, Mama of Tilly the Dog
Tickets to the Exotic Erotic Ball? A Smart Car giveaway? Special Saw VI prizes?
It’s been an interesting couple of months here in the BCP Recruitment department but hey, we figure interesting is good. Basically we’re open to anything that’ll help us reach new blood donors.
You might remember in September, we gave away a Smart Car to one lucky blood donor and this month, we gave tickets to the Exotic Erotic Ball (donated to us by the producers of the Ball) as well as special T-shirts and prizes related to the release of the movie, “Saw VI,” (donated by the movie studio). Yeah, tickets to a ball where the revelers are in lingerie or swag from a horror flick isn’t the usual giveaway for a blood center but with so few new donors each month (just 10% of everyone who gives), we’re always looking for ways to reach more people.
How about you? Any creative ideas to reach new donors?
by Angela Woon, Communications Specialist, avid handwasher
OK, I admit it. I’m a germaphobe.
Yes, I wait for someone else to open the restroom door and try to squeeze through while it’s still ever so slightly ajar…even if it means running over that unsuspecting (but god sent!) door-opener. If I really have to open the door, I use a paper towel for the door knob. Hand sanitizer? Yup, got that in my purse. But hey, before you roll your eyes or make a wisecrack, remember, it’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends to protect against the flu…well, sort of.
The CDC encourages everyone to take three steps to fight the flu:
1) Take time to get a flu vaccine: this is important for people at high risk of serious flu complications, including young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions and people 65 and over.
2) Take everyday preventive actions (this is where, all of my above germaphobe actions come into play): avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; wash your hands often with soap and water.
3) Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor recommends them: antiviral drugs are prescription medicines that fight against the fly by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body.
As with any flu season, keeping up the blood supply is vital in our community. In the Bay Area, it takes 500 pints of blood every day to keep up with the needs of patients in the more than 40 hospitals we serve!
During winter months, BCP, like all blood centers, feels the awful pinch. People are often too busy to donate blood, or they might be feeling under-the-weather. So we encourage donors who are feeling healthy to make the time to donate once more before the end of the year.
And in case you’re wondering, if you’ve received a flu shot, or if you plan on receiving the H1N1 vaccine, that won’t impact your ability to donate blood. In fact, no wait time is required. You can receive the shot and donate blood the same day. But if you have flu symptoms, don’t donate blood until you are 100 percent recovered.
‘Tis the season of giving - get the flu shot to help yourself, donate blood to help others, and oh yes, also please remember to keep the door open for that person behind you.
by Angelina Lee, Safety Officer, San Francisco resident and hiking enthusiast
Fire! Fire! Fire! When the fire alarm sounds, do you know what to do?
Here at the blood center, when we talk about safety, we’re usually referring to the safety of blood donation. And while that is 101 percent important (and in case you’re wondering, donating blood is completely safe), we’re also up to par with fire safety.
BCP celebrated National Fire Prevention week, Oct 4 to 10th, by educating our staff in fire safety and prevention. Fire Prevention week commemorates the great Chicago Fire – the two-day blaze that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless and destroyed more than 17,000 buildings.
Incidentally, we recently had an unscheduled fire drill (yes, that guilty employee who microwaved popcorn for too long) but everyone got out safely and on time.
And last week, our employees got to play firefighter when they learned how to operate a fire extinguisher by putting out a controlled fire (there’s a pretty cool device that does this which you can see here).
We learned that when using your extinguisher, remember “P.A.S.S.”
Pull the pin that unlocks the lever
Aim low, pointing the extinguisher nozzle or hose at the base of the fire
Squeeze the lever above the handle to discharge the extinguishing agent. To stop the discharge, release the lever
Sweep the nozzle or hose from side to side. Keep the nozzle aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames are out.
Not only does fire prevention and preparation extend to the workplace but it can save your life in your home. So, take time to look around your home and remediate any potential fire hazards. Replace batteries in your smoke detectors and replace old fire extinguishers Inspect wiring, electrical cords, and properly dispose of any unused flammable products (paint, cleaning supplies, etc.)..
So the next time the fire alarm sounds, remember, it could be more than just burning popcorn.
Stay fire smart!
by Angela Woon, Communications Specialist, San Francisco resident, logophile and devoted foodie
Congratulations Daniel Riggins!
They all came from all over - all walks of life, from all regions of the Bay Area, all ages.
We had finalists who came from as far as Redding, Napa, San Jose and from our own backyard of San Francisco. Among them were a school teacher, college student, mother, garbage man and even one person who was recently laid off. But they all had one common bond, they were all lifesaving blood donors. OK, two things in common, they were also hoping to be that one lucky winner who would drive away in the smart car!
Each of the nine finalists (one was unable to attend) picked random keys from a basket and stood in line awaiting their turn. The suspense rose as each finalist stepped forward to try their key. After seven disappointed “awwws,” Daniel Riggins tried his key…and yay! He was proclaimed the smart car winner! The win was especially sweet as Daniel and his wife share one car that’s 15-years-old.
Congratulations to Daniel for being our smart car winner! And to all our other finalists who walked away with $100 gas cards. They are: Terry Francis, Becky Lockhart, Mauricio Lucha, Christopher Berghout, Maria Encina, Jennie Gamble, Chelsea Britt and Samantha Sligh.
Thank you to all our donors for participating in our September raffle and for doing the smart thing – donating blood!