Ever been on a helicopter? If not, you could be surprised to learn your donated blood might have been.

Such was the reaction from a bevy of donors contributing a piece of themselves at a recent Canadian Blood Services clinic. We spoke with about half a dozen people about our Blood on Board program, and most had never heard of it.

In short, Blood on Board allows us to carry two units of Type O Negative blood on every flight. The cooler carrying the units is temperature-controlled and must be switched out every few days if it hasn’t been used.

“I think it’s incredible that STARS puts blood on helicopters,” said donor Anne Fraleigh. “Just for efficiency and speediness and getting blood to a victim quicker.”

She hit the nail on the head. Before the program began in 2014, a STARS helicopter would have to stop at a hospital on the way to a trauma incident if the air medical crew anticipated a need for it.

_R8A4777“It just saves us a little bit of time and gives the patient that much more of a fighting chance to get back to the surgeon for any life-saving measures that they would need,” said Bob Odney, Clinical Operations Manager with STARS.

“It’s made a huge impact in how we do business, for sure. It’s a great adjunct to what we do.”