Kerr McGee Center houses monthly event

Local blood donors are having to get used to a new location, and they seem to like it. Instead of taking blood donations in a mobile blood unit in the Kerr McGee parking lot, Houchin Community Blood Bank is now doing the honors inside the building.


The change in routine came about almost by accident, according to Houchin staff member Joy Invina. It started during their blood drive last December. “One of our larger buses broke down,” Invina explained. A smaller bus was used and half the donations took place on the bus and half inside the building.


The inside arrangement was a hit. “Donors and staff liked it better,” Invina said. “So we kept it this way.” January was the first month the all blood donations were taken inside.


Wednesday was the group's monthly blood drive. The Kerr McGee Center's Pinnacles Room was set up with staff members taking information, handing out water and drawing blood at individual stations. The layout was indeed more spacious than on board the buses.


Donors relaxed in chairs at the far end of the room, many with their backs turned toward the door. Asked about the new arrangement, a staff member commented that it speeds things up. “We can get donors through more quickly,” she said.


Invina said blood donations are up, at least initially, in 2017. In January, the group registered 116 donors and collected 98 units of blood. For comparison, they normally average around 100 donor registrations and 80 units. She did not attribute the bump in donations to the new location however, but rather to “New Years' resolutions and the free tee-shirts we were giving out.”


The group is headquartered in Bakersfield, with a new location at 11515 Bolthouse Drive and their previous location at 5901 Truxtun Ave.


According to their website, as of Wednesday Houchin had a critical need for A-, O+, and O- blood types. They hold regular blood drives in Ridgecrest.


Those interested in giving blood need to bring a picture ID with date of birth. Donors can be 16 or 17 years old with a parental consent form.


Donors should be well hydrated and have eaten a couple of hours before donating. Recent piercings are ok, but any tattoos must have been acquired more than a year previously.


For more information, call 661-323-4222 or see www.hcbb.com.