BY MELANIE BUCK –
The annual Guns-N-Hoses blood drives are back, with both Mena and Hatfield taking part in the friendly competition. During the Guns-N-Hoses drives, local firefighters ‘battle’ local police officers to see who can have more blood donated to benefit patients across the state through the Arkansas Blood Institute (ABI).
Christina Castorena of ABI says summer time is a crucial time to donate, as blood is in high demand. “People are more active during the summer and are more prone to accidents,” said Castorena. She also said it is a bit harder to collect donations during the summer due to local schools being out of session. “High schools are huge blood donors,” she explained.
To help combat low blood supplies, firefighters and police ask donors to choose a side, the ‘guns’ or the ‘hoses,’ and at the end of the day, donors are counted up to see who wins the battle of the Guns N Hoses and gets bragging rights until next year.
The first of the two battles will include Hatfield Volunteer Fire Department and the Polk County Sheriff’s Department. To support either department, they will set up in the old school auditorium on June 21st from 2:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Mena Fire Department will battle Mena Police Department on June 26th at the National Guard Armory on North Morrow Street from 12:15 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Castorena hopes to get at least 40 good donors. Especially needed are those with O-negative type blood because in emergency cases where a blood type is unknown, O-negative can be used.
To speed up the process, you can log onto www.arkbi.org to fill out the application and have it ready when you get to the blood drive. “It is so important to give blood. Mena Regional Health System uses some of the blood donated, along with nearly 30 hospitals and medical facilities in the state. Every donor can save up to three people’s lives.” Also, as an added bonus, each donor at the Guns-N-Hoses drives will receive free tickets to Magic Springs and a blood donor t-shirt.