Van Buren police and firefighters will face off once again in the Guns and Hoses Community Blood Drive on Tuesday, June 7.

Area residents can support the Arkansas Blood Institute and their favorite emergency response agency by donating blood at the drive at the Van Buren Police Department from noon to 6:45 p.m.

Arkansas Blood Institute depends on blood drives at area school districts during the school year, but suffer shortages during the summer months when school is out, said Danny Cervantes with Arkansas Blood Institute.

"These Guns and Hoses events are very key to our success in the summer and with the Van Buren drive being the first of the season, it really sets the tone," Cervantes said.

In an effort to stave off those summer blood shortages, members of the police and fire departments recruit and encourage residents to attend the drive on their behalf. The effort of donating shows support not only for that agency, but for those desperately in need of blood.

ABS also plans to begin providing blood to area hospitals that it has never partnered with before, Cervantes said, so it is even more important for the institute to build up its blood reserves.

"Right now we’re very much in need of O-negative, and all blood types, really," Cervantes said.

While the competition is friendly and for a good cause, both Stanley Clark of the Van Buren Fire Department and Detective Jonathan Wear with the police department will attend the drive and try to sway donors to give on their behalf.

Cervantes noted that the blood drive is a real competition in Van Buren in a way it may not be in the other Guns and Hoses events.

While at the other drives one department usually wins every year, in Van Buren the winning department goes a different way each year.

Van Buren’s fire department will be looking to get back its winning title after losing to the police department last year, Cervantes said.

Donors who attend the Van Buren event will receive free vouchers for two tickets to the Tulsa Zoo, a Guns and Hoses T-shirt.

Donors can walk in or make an appointment to donate. Call ABI at (877) 340- 8777 or visit arkbi.org.