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whole blood initiative


Whole Blood transfused by EMS: This new technique will give trauma patients a stronger likelihood of stabilization before arriving at the hospital for further treatment.

Help Save Lives

Community engagement is vital to maintain, sustain and expand this program across the ten jurisdictions in the Tidewater EMS Council region which runs from the Eastern Shore out through Southampton County.

Individuals, businesses and healthcare organizations all have a role to play in supporting the Whole Blood Initiative.

Tidewater EMS Council is a 501 (c) (3) organization and serves the cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach and the counties of Accomack, Isle of Wight, Northampton and Southampton.

"Whole Blood Transfusion by EMS in the Field"

Sometimes in the field we can’t always stop the bleeding, but being able to replace those blood products to ensure that organs are getting the nutrients and oxygenation that they need is very important.

Dr. Michael Martyak

EVMS Asst Professor Dept of Surgery

Listen to TEMS Time Podcast Episodes about the Whole Blood Initiative

Help Us Change the Outcome for Our Region

Each year 1.9 million people die worldwide due to uncontrolled bleeding which has made blood-loss the leading cause of preventable death from injury.

Program Start in 2022

The Whole Blood Initiative began in October 2022 in Virginia Beach

Better Solutions

Whole Blood is better at clotting and helps to stabilize patients long enough to make it to the hospital

Universal Blood Donor

Type O+ Whole Blood Is Used In This Program And Administered In The Field

Reliable Partners

We Are Partnering With The Blood Connection To Supply Whole Blood For This Program

Proven Results

Whole Blood Has Been Used By Civilian and Military Providers With Increasingly Positive Results


EMS Providers Receive Advanced Training to Transfuse Whole Blood

Program Overview

Starting in October 2022, EMS agencies in the Tidewater region began carrying cold-stored whole blood for treating patients with major blood loss on their way to a hospital. The program was rolled out in Virginia Beach and expanded to Chesapeake in April 2023. Growth to other localities will take place as we progress through the campaign. This initiative will positively affect the lives of many citizens throughout the greater Hampton Roads area.

Why Whole Blood is Needed

With the increase in violence from incidents like mass shootings, the TEMS Trauma Performance Improvement Committee began looking at trauma-related data and found that whole blood delivered by EMS would improve the quality of care delivered in the Tidewater region. The Whole Blood Initiative is an innovative solution that allows whole blood to be administered in the field to reduce hemorrhage-related complications and deaths from traumatic injuries. TEMS is excited to bring this program to the Tidewater Region.

How Will the Program Work

TEMS estimates that there is a need for 240 units of blood annually to be administered to trauma patients in the field. A donation campaign is underway to raise funds to cover the startup costs and annual operations costs which depends on donations from public, businesses and community partners.

TEMS is working with The Blood Connection to get a steady supply of whole blood. In addition, TEMS will be coordinating quarterly blood drives to contribute to the supply of whole blood. The program began in October 2022 in Virginia Beach with Supervisor vehicles carrying whole blood used to treat trauma patients directly at the scene. With increased funding the program will expand to other cities and counties in the region as well as begin to serve pediatric patients and help with medical situations outside of trauma.

Why We Need Your Help


of Trauma Deaths are Due to Hemorrhagic-shock


Units of Blood are Estimated to be Administered Every Year


of population can receive O+ blood which is the preferred type to be transfused


Estimated annual cost to maintain the program

Benefits of Administering Whole Blood by EMS

Research indicates that trauma is the leading cause of death in people 46 years old and younger in the United States yet up to 25% of trauma deaths are potentially survivable with the administration of whole blood. These positive results have been documented since 2017 when programs for pre-hospital use of whole blood for trauma patients began.

Superior Product

In our current system of treatment for hemorrhage-related traumas, pre-hospital patients have received IV therapy or components of blood for stabilization. However, whole blood is far superior to components (packed red blood cells, plasma, and platelets) in terms of content and benefit. Most importantly, it includes essential clotting factors that aren’t present in components. Numerous studies conducted by military and civilian medical personnel have shown that if whole blood is administered to trauma patients early enough, it leads to improved outcomes for these patients.

Time Sensitive

Recent mass shootings highlight the critical need for first responders to treat major blood loss in trauma patients. For anyone gravely injured – whether during combat, in a mass casualty event, or in a car accident – every minute counts. For trauma patients, interrupting the shock sequence by transfusing whole blood is the key. Whole blood needs to be administered within 30-45 minutes following a traumatic injury and is an essential tool to give patients even better outcomes - a chance not just to survive but to thrive after a traumatic event.

Greater Odds of Survival

Multiple cities and counties across the country have been utilizing whole blood in EMS with incredible results. More than that, Whole Blood has been given on the battlefields of Afghanistan, and survivorship increased by up to 20 times the normal rate when administered within 34 minutes of an injury. Even though data from military combat can be different from civilian trauma data, there is a strong correlation between injuries experienced in both settings.


May: Blood Drive - City of Norfolk/Norfolk Fire-Rescue  - May 10th

April: Whole Blood Initiative begins in Chesapeake

January: Blood Drive - Virginia Beach Department of EMS - 39 units collected

October: Whole Blood Initiative begins in Virginia Beach

September: Whole Blood Initiative Website goes live, First Blood Drive takes place at the TEMS office - 54 units collected and TEMS Time Podcast Episodes about the program were released.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Whole Blood Initiative started in October 2022 in Virginia Beach, expanded to Chesapeake in April 2023 with planned growth to other localities as funding and training can be supported.

Initially, Whole Blood will only be used to treat adult trauma patients, however, use in the treatment of pediatric patients and other medical cases is a planned extension of this program.

The Blood Connection is the contracted provider of the blood supply for this program. Blood Drives in Hampton Roads coordinated by Tidewater EMS Council, will contribute to the whole blood inventory needed to support this program.

No, the Whole Blood Initiative Program is funded by the Tidewater EMS Council and contributions by the participating jurisdictions. It will be sustained by donations from individuals, businesses, and healthcare organizations.

The mission of the Tidewater EMS Council is to facilitate regional cooperation, planning, and implementation of an integrated emergency medical services delivery system for the region.

For this program, TEMS was perfectly positioned to do the research, assemble the required community partnerships, establish the protocols and provide oversight for the launch of this critical service on a regional level. 

Tidewater EMS Council continues to act as the organizational lead for the Whole Blood Initiative. Please contact David Long/Executive Director to partner with TEMS or provide sponsorship for this program.

Community engagement is vital to maintain, sustain and expand this program across the ten jurisdictions in the Tidewater EMS Council region which runs from the Eastern Shore out through Southampton County. Individuals, businesses, and healthcare organizations all have a role to play in supporting the Whole Blood Initiative.

Financial contributions to the Whole Blood Initiative Campaign are greatly appreciated and will help ensure this critical service is fully implemented.

Another way to support the Initiative is to become a blood donor at a TEMS-sponsored blood drive, which will be held quarterly.