The 17th annual Battle of the Badges blood drive — a good-natured competition between local firefighters and law enforcement officers — is under way.
The drive, which is intended to offset the dip in blood donations that frequently occurs during the holiday season, lasts through Dec. 31.
Residents can participate by donating blood and then casting a “vote” for either firefighters or law enforcement, American Red Cross spokeswoman Jennifer Keller said. Firefighters have won the last two drives, but law enforcement had a slight lead after the first few days of donations this year.
Everyone who tries to donate will receive a Battle of the Badges T-shirt. Donations can be made at multiple locations in Wichita:
• The Wichita Blood Donor Center, 707 N. Main. Open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
• The Northwest Blood Donor Center, 8414 W. 13th, Suite 200, will be open 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. today and Tuesday.
• Mobile drives at local fire stations include Sedgwick County Fire Station 20, 2255 S. Greenwich Road, 8 a.m. to noon on Tuesday; Sedgwick County Fire Station 37, 4343 N. Woodlawn, 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesday; Wichita Fire Station 6, 1010 N. 143rd Street, 8 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Dec. 29; Wichita Fire Station 21, 2110 N. 135th Street West, 8 a.m. to noon on Dec. 30.
The Red Cross is encouraging people to become regular blood platelet donors during this drive, Keller said. For more information on platelet donation, people may call 316-268-0875 or toll free at 1-866-206-0694.