Drive safe; donate blood over B.C. Day long weekend

ICBC and Canadian Blood Services partner for summer challenge

VANCOUVER, July 28 /CNW/ - ICBC and Canadian Blood Services are encouraging British Columbians to think twice about their actions this B.C. Day long weekend.

According to ICBC statistics 2005 to 2009, there is an average of 1,780 crashes, resulting in 500 injuries and three fatalities during the B.C. Day long weekend. This can have an immediate and significant impact on Canada's blood supply.

"Victims of bad car crashes can sometimes need up to 50 units of blood to come out of the emergency room alive," said Britt Andersen, Regional Donor Services Manager for Canadian Blood Services, B.C. and Yukon Region. "That's why the need for blood never takes a vacation. We need to collect blood every day of the year so that the right blood products are available at the right time."

Historically, long weekends are a difficult time to collect blood across the province, so ICBC staff are rolling up their sleeves to do their part by holding their 2nd annual Summer Blood Donor Challenge from July 28th to September 8th.

"We're proud of the commitment of our employees - last year they exceeded the target by 250 per cent," said Jon Schubert, ICBC's President and CEO. "It's remarkable to see their dedication to making a difference again this summer and we'd like to encourage individuals and other businesses to follow suit."

As of this morning, Canadian Blood Services still needs to fill 345 appointment slots between July 30th and August 2nd. So do your part and make an appointment with Canadian Blood Services by calling 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283).

ICBC, along with the Community Against Preventable Injuries, also wants to remind drivers to make smart driving decisions this long weekend - plan ahead if your activities will involve alcohol, avoid using hand-held electronic devices while driving and stay within the posted speed limit.

"We never imagine that we'll end our long weekend with car damage, or even worse, in a hospital bed," says Dr. Ian Pike of the Community for Preventable Injuries. "But that is exactly what happens to hundreds of British Columbians every year. Please make smart driving decisions this long weekend."

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For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Michelle Hargrave, ICBC, 250-878-1923; Angela Poon, Canadian Blood Services, 604-787-3247

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