Responders with the Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue service will soon begin administering blood products to people who are critically injured before they go to a hospital.

A spokesperson for the fire department said Wednesday that research shows the sooner severely hurt trauma patients who have lost blood receive these treatments, the better their chance of survival.

"Until now, the temperature and shelf-life requirements of blood products have made it impossible for Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue to deliver them in the field," TFR spokeswoman Holly Whigham said.

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"However, recent purchases of specialized storage and administration equipment have allowed the department to set up five Advanced Life Support units with the capability of administering blood products at the scene of an emergency or while on the way to the hospital," she said.

Whigham said the fire department is partnering with LifeSouth Community Blood Centers and together they will develop procedures to obtaining, storing and replacing blood products at TFR facilities.

"We appreciate the support of Mayor Maddox, the Tuscaloosa City Council, and most importantly the members of the Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue in making this program a reality," Whigham said. "We are confident that lives will be saved by reducing the amount of time following a severe injury, that lost blood can begin to be replaced."

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