RAPID CITY, S.D. — Rapid City’s finest and bravest at Rushmore Mall in something of a blood sport. Firefighters and police officers donating blood in the 16th annual Guns and Hoses event.
The Rapid City fire and Police Departments have joined with Vitalant to encourage blood donation in Rapid City, and while it’s for a good cause, it wouldn’t be Guns’n’Hoses without a little competition.
“It’s a fun, friendly competition for us to get people through the door to donate blood, to get that blood supply back up,” said the RCFD public information officer, Tessa Jaeger. “We give each other a hard time, we try to get people to either vote for team fire or team law – team fire obviously – but it’s a friendly competition and we have the same goal in the end.”
“So, it’s the 16th annual…we’re going into it…the score is now eight to seven, and so we’re very interested to see how it’s going to shake out this year,” said the RCPD public information officer, Brendyn Medina.
Before participants gave blood, the departments had a friendly but messy bucket challenge competition. In a turn of events, the police department won, although they were soaked in the end.
“Unfortunately, the police won,” said Jaeger. “They showed us that they can actually work a fire hose pretty well. Everybody was pretty shocked that they were able to pull it out. I think what our guys did is the wanted to get the police guys wet.”
Competition aside, Vitalant has been encouraging blood donations recently, as the country is in a critical shortage. More blood is going out than being donated, but they hope to change that. The event will continue through Friday in the old Herberger’s location at the Rushmore Mall.
“So you can come to the west entrance or get near the mall security office, you’re gonna be in the right space,” said Vitalant communications manager, Tori Robbins. “There is not outside access to the blood drive, so please don’t come in from an outside entrance. Come in through the mall, we’ll get you signed in, we’ll get you set up, we’ll get you in and out in about an hour, and we’ll save a whole lot of lives together.”
Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are more than welcome.