Blood centers across the U.S., including Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (CBCO), the sole provider of blood, platelets, and plasma to over 40 area hospitals, are celebrating the one-year anniversary of the nation’s first emergency blood reserve. The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC) was founded in 2021 as a partnership by a group of blood centers who joined together to keep the blood supply stocked during emergencies when blood needs are high, such as during a mass-casualty event or natural disaster.

The BERC was created to allow blood centers to partner with others to add additional units of blood to reserves, so that the blood would be ready to be shipped in response to a critical scenario. As part of their on-call week and a member of the BERC Network, on May 26, 2022, Community Blood Center of the Ozarks was one of the blood centers to send blood to help a partner blood center, South Texas Blood and Tissue, meet the needs of trauma patients as a result of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. The activation to send blood to Uvalde marks the fourth time since its inception in September 2021 that the BERC Network has been called upon to provide blood during a national emergency.