The Fraternal Order of Police Grand Forks Lodge and the Grand Forks Fire Fighters Local 242 will host the annual Battle of the Badges Blood Drive through 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11.

The drive, which began Tuesday, will be open for donations from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the Dak Min Blood Bank located at 3375 DeMers Ave.

Grand Forks Police Cpl. Jorge Elizondo said the blood drive is held every year in remembrance of 9/11. This year, the blood drive also will be held in remembrance of GFPD Officer Cody Holte, who was killed in the line of duty in May.

The city police and fire departments take turns each year hosting the event. This year, firefighters from the Grand Forks Fire Department took the lead. Elizondo described the event as a friendly competition between the two departments to see who could bring in the most blood donors.

"The biggest thing for us is just trying to find a different way to contribute. We can do that by doing our part and donating a pint of blood," Elizondo said. "One of the cool things about blood is that a pint of blood saves two lives on average. So that's pretty nice to think that everybody can go in there, and, if we have 16 people go in, that translates to 32 possible lives."

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Last year, the drive received more than 70 donations, according to Elizondo.

He particularly urged people with the Blood Type O-Negative to donate, but said they accept donations of all blood types.

Patients of traumatic injuries and cancer patients are two frequent recipients of blood donations, Elizondo said. Much of the blood is also used locally in Grand Forks.

People who wish to donate should expect a short health screening before donating. After donating their blood, they will be welcome to enjoy complimentary snacks.

Elizondo urged participants to make an appointment before arriving at the blood bank in an effort to maintain social distancing. He also asked that all participants wear a mask.

"Obviously, safety is paramount, so if folks coming in have a mask of some sort that they could wear, that would be greatly appreciated," he said. "Obviously, first and foremost, we're trying to curb the spread of COVID-19, and while we appreciate people coming into the blood donations, we also have to consider public safety, so if they can, we strongly encourage people to wear masks."

Walk-ins will be accommodated as long as social-distancing guidelines can be followed. Appointments can be made by visiting www.dakminbloodbank.org or by calling (701) 780-5433.