ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Blood centers are still seeing a continual need for blood.

The Rock River Valley Blood Center held their annual “Battle of the Badges Blood Drive” on Monday. That is where the fire and police departments compete to see who can get more people to donate on their behalf.

The event will wrap up on Friday, lasting the whole week. One organizer said that, for a Monday, they were happy with the turnout.

“In the long run, the real winners is everyone in the community, because we all benefit from the blood donations,” said Heidi Ognibene, COO of Rock River Valley Blood Center.

This is the 9th year that the blood center has hosted “Battle of the Badges.” Ognibene said that this is a good way for the community to come together and do something good.

“It’s just a friendly competition between the police department and the fire department, trying to raise awareness and try to get people to come out and donate blood,” Ognibene said.

It is raising awareness on how essential blood is to the body.

“Every 3 seconds, somebody needs a unit of blood and three lives are saved every time that you donate a unit of blood, and we need a lot of blood in our community,” Ognibene said. “We supply 13 area hospitals and it’s a constant need.”

Ognibene said that there is still a shortage of blood, and donating now would be perfect timing.

“Now we’ve entered into summer, and summers always difficult anyways because there’s more accidents, there’s more high-risk activities that happen, and people are not as available because they’re on vacation or they want to go golfing after work rather than come donate blood,” she said.

Those who do take the time out of their day to give will decide who gets bragging rights; the men in blue or red.

“The last 8 of them, it’s tied 4-4, so we’re looking to see who’s gonna break the tie this year,” Ognibene said.

She added that they will give updates on numbers throughout the week. There will be a final drive on Friday at City Wellness Center, 120 N 3rd St., where they will also present the winner with a trophy.