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EDWARDSVILLE - The first “Battle of the Badges” blood drive of 2023 is set for Monday, April 10. The Edwardsville Police and Fire Departments have rekindled this friendly competition in an effort to encourage much-needed blood donations.

The blood drive will take place from noon to 6 p.m. at the Edwardsville Public Safety Building, 333 S. Main Street. The American Red Cross will operate the event from the second-floor training room.

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The fire and police departments collaborate on the Battle of the Badges blood drive at least twice a year. While it’s dubbed a “battle” between the departments, Police Chief Mike Fillback said the friendly competition is just a lighthearted way to tackle a serious problem: medical blood shortage.

“It’s a good way for people to give back to the community and fill a vital need,” he said. “It’s very much appreciated for people to donate blood.”

Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood or platelets, yet only about 3% of age-eligible people donate blood yearly, according to the American Red Cross.

Although it’s not required, participants are encouraged to sign up in advance for a time slot. Sign-ups are being accepted online at www.redcrossblood.org.

Enter EdwardsvilleBB in the “find a drive” search bar to schedule an appointment. Sign-ups also can be scheduled via phone, at 1-800-733- 2767.

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