Many winners step forward in blood-drive competition.

Local emergency responders recently competed against one another in a battle designed to help others.

The annual Red Cross Battle of the Badges Blood Drive saw representatives of the local police department, fire and sheriff's departments and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) team up to see who could give the most blood and recruit the most donors.

Of course, the "battle" wasn't just for the community's emergency responders, as people from all walks of life showed up to make life-saving blood donations. In doing so, they helped address the ongoing challenge of ensuring an ample blood supply in the region.

The event's timing also was notable, as the blood supply can take a hit during summer months. With more people on vacation, it can be a slow time for donations.

And with the busy Labor Day travel weekend, the need may intensify.

It's never easy to maintain a sufficient supply of blood. Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood, according to the Red Cross. Recipients may be cancer patients, organ transplant recipients or someone injured in an accident.

Despite the best efforts of regular blood donors, shortages are common because the supply barely covers the demand. During critical times during the year when accidents are more common, blood availability in the region that serves Kansas may dip to a half-day supply or below.

Help always is needed from those willing and able to give. Giving blood is safe and easy, and only takes about one hour not a lot to give to potentially save a life.

Prospective donors should call (800) RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information about future blood drives. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.

As we see each year with the Battle of the Badges, competition helps drive participation. The two-day blood drive resulted in 132 pints of blood, according to the Red Cross.

And while the competition always is fun, the real victory was in the heartfelt show of support for the many people who will need blood in the near future.