Carter BloodCare is a founding member of the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC).
BERC is a group of seven U.S. blood centers across five states, united in being prepared for unexpected disasters or large-scale emergencies that require blood.
Who are BERC’s seven founding blood centers?
- Carter BloodCare (headquartered in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area)
- Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank (Hummelstown, Pa.)
- The Community Blood Center (Appleton, Wis.)
- Houchin Community Blood Bank (Bakersfield, Calif.)
- Oklahoma Blood Institute (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
- South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (San Antonio, Texas)
- We Are Blood (Austin, Texas)
Why was BERC created?
The global pandemic highlighted the uncertainty and scarcity of blood when patient and hospital needs are high. In the event of any disaster-response situations, BERC provides confidence and assurance that immediate transfusion demands can be met.
When previously faced with a mass-need event, blood centers across the United States have had to rely on urgent, patchwork pleas for additional blood resources. While states with extra units on hand might have been able to help, there was no certainty or guarantee. Through BERC, participating blood centers will reliably know exactly how many units of emergency blood are available and which center will provide them.
How does BERC provide blood in emergencies?
BERC’s centers have committed to proactively collecting additional units of blood to create a readily-available supply for emergency needs. These units are held in reserve for use by participating BERC centers in critical-need events.
Centers participate on a rotating, three-week cycle. This on-call schedule means blood centers are ready to assist BERC partners when needed.
What qualifies as an emergency event that requires BERC assistance?
Though it’s difficult to predict the extent of certain disasters, BERC will be prepared for critical-need scenarios such as mass shootings, natural disasters and large-scale car crashes, among others.
Is BERC unique?
BERC is the first-of-its-kind partnership among U.S. blood centers, creating a proactive safety net for meeting emergency blood needs.
When did BERC begin?
BERC launched in September 2021.
If no disaster occurs, what happens to the units that have been set aside?
Since blood is perishable, the units will return to the overall supply of the blood center that collected them during its on-call rotation. This will ensure the units are available for general patient needs.
How will BERC respond to requests made from blood centers that are not BERC partners?
BERC’s founding partners agree that a call for blood-resource assistance will be answered if it meets the activation criteria. The blood center that receives the units would also be invited to become a BERC partner.
Will participating centers hold BERC-designated blood drives?
Blood drives with a history of strong donation rates are invited to become BERC drives. These represent the strongest partnerships in the BERC system and will be publicly recognized.
If you are interested in the BERC partnership, contact your blood drive consultant, or email BookABloodDrive@carterbloodcare.org and put ‘BERC’ in the subject line. Tell us you’re interested in supporting emergency blood needs, and include your contact information and ZIP code.
How can blood donors help?
The global pandemic severely strained the national blood supply. New and returning donors are needed nationwide to meet day-to-day needs and be prepared for future emergency readiness.
Eligible donors are urged to give blood and bring friends to donate. Donors can give whole blood every 56 days and blood is urgently needed every day for routine usage. For specific eligibility requirements, visit the website of your local blood center.
For more information on BERC, please visit BloodEmergencyReadinessCorps.org.