Somewhere between Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas morning, blood donations seem to fall by the wayside.
Enter local public safety.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Monterey County police and fire departments will face off in the second Battle of the Badges. Sponsored by the American Red Cross, the event is part of a nationwide initiative to bolster donations after the holiday slack.
In August 2013, the Salinas Fire Department won "hands down," said fire Capt. Bruce Bush. He credited his resilience in recruiting for the win.
"Part of that was because I was there all day recruiting people," he said.
The departments will again face off at the Northridge Mall Community Room, 796 Northridge Mall, Bush said.
According to the Red Cross, Battle of the Badges began in 2007 in Southern California as a friendly competition. In the years since, the program has expanded to become, officially, the Western United States Battle of the Badges. The reigning champ is the Los Angeles Police Department.
Even civilians get into the spirit, Bush said. When registering, civilians are asked to indicate which agency they'd like to credit their donation, he explained.
Before donating, Bush urged people to eat a meal rich in iron and to be well-hydrated. The latter actually ensures the donation moves quicker, Bush said.
Each donation has the potential to save three lives, he added.