Area first responders are stepping up to help in another way this week by partnering with Vitalant to collect blood.

Now until Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., people in the community are asked to stop by Sleep Inn and Suites to donate blood for the annual Battle of the Badges blood drive.

If you do decide to donate. you will be asked which team you want to donate under: Team Fire or Team Law Enforcement.

Vitalant Blood Recruiter Teresa Johnson tells KX News in years past, this event has been a huge collection pot for people in need of blood across the state.

She says this year’s event is more critical than ever after several drives were canceled last year due to the pandemic.

“We are actually at a critical level for our O-Type bloods meaning O+and O- that means that we have less than three days on the shelf at our blood bank so it’s crucial to get those donors,” Johnson said.

Johnson says there is a pre-registration process that people can utilize to avoid walk-in waits by calling 701-852-2161, but it’s not mandatory.