SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – A friendly competition is underway between the Sioux Falls Police Department and Sioux Falls Fire Rescue… and you have a chance to participate.

Now through January 7th you can donate blood in honor of Sioux Falls Fire Rescue or the Sioux Falls Police Department. It’s part of the annual “Heroes Behind the Badge Blood Drive.”

That’s what people are doing Tuesday morning outside Flyboy Donut where a bloodmobile is set up.

“It’s a friendly competition between fire rescue and Sioux Falls PD, we do a lot of good banter back and forth on who’s going to win, it’s for a great cause,” Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, division chief, Steve Fessler said.

This is the 26th year of the event.

“This has been an amazing blood drive opportunity for people throughout the years that we’ve been doing this, thousands and thousands of lives have been impacted by this specific event alone,” executive director with the Community Blood Bank, Ken Versteeg said.

“The community uses the blood locally so it’s nice that everything that we donate, we know that it’s staying here,” Sioux Falls Police Department, patrol officer, Jeff Van Gerpen said.

Versteeg says the event started as a way for people to donate during the holidays. He adds right now there is a need for blood donations in the community.

“There’s a lot of individuals that forget about donating blood during the holidays because they are so busy,” Versteeg said. “What we end up seeing is more people are on the roadways during the holidays, we actually end up having more accidents and more traumas too.”

On the first day of the competition, over 200 units of blood were collected.

“We’re hoping to hit that 1,200 mark, that is kind of an ultimate goal, it would be a record setter for us,” Versteeg said.

“Events like this are great, any time we can be involved with the community and get out and talk to the people, it’s a great thing and we thoroughly enjoy it,” Fessler said.

You can sign up to donate blood at either Sanford or Avera. The bloodmobile will also host pop up donation events at different locations around Sioux Falls.