Rapid City first responders compete in the 17th annual Guns and Hoses battle

With the common goal to bring in more blood donations
The Early evening news on KOTA Territory TV
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 5:26 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Over the next couple of days, it could be your turn to be a hero in the community alongside Rapid City’s first responders.

It’s the 17th annual battle between the guns and the hoses to see who will take home the trophy by bringing in the most blood donations.

“It’s our annual blood drive where the fire department and police department come and we boost up Vitalant’s operations,” explained John Olson, Captain of the Patrol Division for the Rapid City Police Department.

“And really it’s just a competition to bring our community together in order to help out our fellow citizens and donate some blood,” added Jason Culberson, Fire Chief of the Rapid City Fire Department.

The drive kicked off with a firetruck pull between the two departments with the firemen coming out on top.

“Yeah, we won with a pretty good lead. We might have a little bit of experience with pulling firetrucks,” laughed Culberson, but the competition isn’t over yet.

Inside Uptown Rapid, people are able to give blood and decide to back either the fire or police departments.

Whichever one has the most donors by the end of the drive walks away with the trophy.

“So, we’ve had the support of the Rapid City Fire Department and Police Department for so many years to draw attention to the summer and how important it is to donate blood,” said Communications Manager for Vitalant, Tori Robbins.

Robbins explained that in the summer, school is out and people are traveling.

The thought of donating blood is pushed aside resulting in a drop in donations.

“This year was a little more than we’re used to in the past and so we are in a critical blood shortage right now,” said Robbins.

She added that a majority of blood donations are used for ongoing medical issues.

“So, people who have a disease, a blood disease, they go in regularly to get blood transfusions to live,” explained Robbins.

However, on the other hand, Olson said as a first responder he witnesses traumatic events where blood is vital for a victim’s survival.

“We end up dealing with people who are in a traumatic car wreck or possibly a stabbing or a shooting. So, we both see it as both the trauma side as well as the medical side,” said Olson.

Despite the competition, both RCFD and RCPD recognize the importance of the blood drive are brothers and sisters in arms at the end of the day .

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