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McLean Volunteer Fire Department to host blood drive, with supplies at critically low levels

Inova holds a blood drive at the McLean Volunteer Fire Department (courtesy McLean Volunteer Fire Department/Facebook)

An Inova bloodmobile is on its way to the McLean Volunteer Fire Department (1455 Laughlin Avenue).

The fire department has teamed up again with Inova Blood Donor Services to host a blood drive from 1 to 5:30 p.m. next Friday (Jan. 28). The event will take place in the lower parking lot, which is accessible from Lowell Avenue.

McLean VFD Chief John Hootman says Fairfax County’s volunteer fire stations are always happy to work with Inova on its blood drives.

“Due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, blood supplies within our community and the nation remain challenged,” Hootman said in a statement. “Partnering in this way further helps our community by ensuring the hospitals have life-saving blood available when our career and volunteer EMTs transfer care of our patients from the field to our local emergency departments.”

This is the second blood drive that the fire department has hosted in as many months, as Inova reports critically low supply levels, a recurring issue during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Blood donations over the past month have been dramatically impacted by a rise in COVID-19 cases in our region, holiday travels, and inclement weather; and the supply can only be replenished by volunteer donors,” Inova said in a news release from Jan. 6.

As of Jan. 10, Inova was running low on all types of blood except for A negative, according to its red blood cell inventory. Units of O positive, O negative, and A positive have been particularly depleted.

Inova’s red blood cell inventory as of Jan. 10 2022 (via Inova Blood Donor Services)

Appointments for the upcoming McLean Volunteer Fire Department blood drive can be made online or by phone at 1-866-BLOODSAVES (1-866-256-6372) with the sponsor code 8507, according to the event page.

McLean VFD says its parking lot will have “plenty of space” for social distancing, but access to the fire station will be prohibited to protect its personnel. Community members are discouraged from signing up to donate if they’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Inova has been requiring surgical masks for both staff and donors at all of its blood drives since Dec. 30. The organization says masks will be provided on site.

With the McLean drive, Inova will have conducted eight blood drives this January at fire departments in Northern Virginia.

Inova Blood Donor Services spokesperson Kevin Giambi says fire departments are ideal locations, because they serve as community hubs, have “ample” parking, and are good at promoting the events, with workers often bringing friends and family to donate.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department also benefits from local blood drives as part of the FACT*R program, which provides supplies and training to first responders so they can conduct blood transfusions on the scene of an incident.

“Given the especially frightening blood shortage in the nation right now, we’re thankful for community partners such as McLean Volunteer Fire Department for hosting our blood drive on Friday, Jan. 28,” Giambi said by email.

In addition to organizing mobile blood drives, Inova has centers in Dulles, Annandale, and Centreville. Interested donors can book appointments at inovablood.org.

Photo courtesy McLean Volunteer Fire Department/Facebook

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