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Law enforcement officials and first responders are encouraging area residents to donate blood to ensure the holiday supply is readily available for hospital patients. 

"Saving lives isn’t reserved for first responders, doctors or nurses," Chattanooga Fire Chief Chris Adams said in a prepared statement. "The entire community has the same opportunity to save lives by donating blood and making sure hospitals have enough blood on hand for patients. We encourage everyone to stop by a Blood Assurance donor center or Bloodmobile before the holiday in order to ensure that the blood supply is readily available to our hospitals."

Fire Chief Chris Adams is encouraging area residents to donate blood ahead of the holiday season. (Photo: Contributed)

Both the Chattanooga Fire Department and the Chattanooga Police Department will be hosting blood drives for officers and cadets Nov. 23, and they hope this prompts others to give.

Blood Assurance leaders said they are grateful to those who protect the community by setting aside time to donate ahead of the holidays, when trauma accidents are on the rise and blood donations are historically low.

"As first responders, we see trauma incidents that require emergency attention on a daily basis, many of which require the use of blood products," Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said in a prepared statement. "It is our duty to do everything in our power to save people’s lives, which includes making a simple blood donation that takes very little time out of our day."

More information

Blood Assurance’s downtown Chattanooga donor center is located at 705 E. Fourth St., across from the UTC McKenzie Arena.

Blood Assurance’s Gunbarrel donor center is located at 1748 Gunbarrel Road, near the Target Shopping Center next to Chick-fil-A.

Blood Assurance’s Hixson donor center is located at 1920 Northpoint Blvd., across from Hobby Lobby and between Lowe's and Home Depot.

Blood Assurance’s Fort Oglethorpe donor center is located at 2720 Lafayette Road, next to Sears Shoe Store. 

For more information on Blood Assurance, donating blood or hosting a blood drive, click here or call 1-800-962-0628.

The entire blood donation process, from registration to post-donation snack, takes less than an hour.

Blood Assurance currently needs more than 540 volunteer blood donors each day in order to adequately supply the demand from local hospitals, and just one blood donation can save up to three lives, according to a news release. 

Each donation of blood contains plasma, red blood cells and platelets that can be used to save premature babies, oncology patients, trauma victims, surgery patients and many more. 

To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 18 years old (at least 16 with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health.

Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids, avoid caffeine and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating.

Donors are not required to make an appointment prior to donating.