FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Cumberland County EMS announced Monday that it, along with Cape Fear Valley Mobile Integrated Healthcare, would start to carry blood in emergency vehicles.

“It’s a great innovation. We’re really excited to bring this to the community,” said Dave Grovdahl, EMS director for Cumberland County EMS.

Blood will be carried on helicopters to start treating patients before they get to the hospital. Cape Fear Valley Health said they would be among the first in the state to carry blood in their 911 ambulances and helicopter. Brian Pearce, Cape Fear Valley Health Vice President of Facilities and Emergency Management, said it was crucial for trauma patients to have the availability of lifesaving blood before they get to the hospital.

“For us to continue to provide this resource, we need to be able to have a good storage of blood to be able to provide,” said Pearce. He urged people to consider donating blood to ensure the supply is available.

Blood will be carried inside a blood cooler. That will ensure blood does not expire. Crews will also carry a warming system to allow blood to be heated to the temperature needed to be infused into patients.

Michael Nagowski, Chief Executive Officer of Cape Fear Valley Health System, said that growth is not just about opening more emergency department or physicians offices. It’s about improving the quality of service they provide.

“This program centered around blood is a perfect example about this. This will save lives. At the end of the day, that is what healthcare is all about,” Nagowski said.

The Cape Fear Valley Health Blood Donor Center is open for donations Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The center is located at 3357 Village Drive, in the Bordeaux Shopping Center.

“It is critical that this continues. Our trauma programs depend on your donations,” Nagowski said.