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California Wildfires Impacting the Blood Community

  • November 19, 2018
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California Wildfires Impacting the Blood Community

Statement from America’s Blood Centers

As the wildfires in California continue to burn, the devastation left in their wake remains including more than 60 deaths as of Thursday, November 15th.   The tragedy has displaced many more as a result of damage and/or mandatory evacuations.

This particularly hits close to home for the blood community as some employees at ABC member blood centers Northern California Community Blood Bank and Vitalant (formerly BloodSource) have been displaced as their homes and possessions were destroyed and their lives disrupted.

While fixed site locations have been spared thus far, the impact of the fires continues to alter operations as drives have been canceled and some fixed site locations temporarily closed. Currently, the blood needs of blood centers in the region are being met. The AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism is monitoring the situation and any needs of affected blood centers.

ABC will keep members informed with additional updates as they become available. Vitalant’s West Division President Steve Ferraiuolo issued the following message earlier this week:

In the past week, throughout California, Vitalant has been impacted by recent tragedies ranging from the deadly mass shooting in Thousand Oaks to the fires that continue to burn in both ends of the state. As of last count, the Woolsey and Hill fires in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties have burned over 100,000 acres, claimed two lives, and destroyed nearly 450 structures with another 57,000 remaining in danger. In the north end of the state, the Camp Fire has burned 135,000 acres, claimed 56 lives (with over 100 people still missing) and nearly 9,000 structures; 7,600 of them homes (including the homes of four Vitalant teammates in Northern California). Both fires continue to burn, and as we look out our windows throughout the division, we can see the impact on the air quality.

While I have been incredibly saddened by these events, I have also been incredibly inspired by the selfless resiliency of the human spirit that has been on display. I have heard numerous stories of staff offering to open their homes and bring in basic supplies to help their colleagues and friends who have been displaced by the fires. I have witnessed staff working incredibly long hours and troubleshooting logistics to ensure that our mission is fulfilled. Throughout all of the adversity, patient needs continue to be met. I know there are individuals all around us who are discussing additional ideas on how to support our communities. In spite of the tragedies going on around us, those patients whether suffering an acute need due to an unforeseen trauma, or an ongoing need to support chemotherapy treatments and their families never have to worry whether or not blood will be there for them.

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, and the holiday season nearly upon us, while it may seem at odds with what we are experiencing around us, I am incredibly grateful. I am grateful for the outpouring of generosity and human kindness I am seeing from our teammates throughout the Vitalant family, from our colleagues around the nation and the community members who continue to make their way into our blood drives and donor centers to ensure patient needs are met. For those wishing to help, there are a number of agencies collecting donations for those impacted by the wildfires, including those listed below:

Paradise, CA:




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