A few Upstate ambulances are now carrying a cooler that can save lives.
The No. 1 cause of preventable deaths that ambulances deal with is loss of blood, said Aaron Dix, Prisma Health's executive director of emergency medical services.
If someone has a severe gunshot wound or hemorrhaging or has been in a severe accident, they could lose blood faster than an ambulance can get them to a hospital, Dix said.
"The only way to keep you alive until the trauma surgeons get to you is to give you blood," he said.
There will be some patients who are too far gone for any transfusion to save them but for about 200 people a year in the Upstate, the ability to do mobile blood transfusions could be the difference between life and death, he said.
It has not been possible, until now, for ambulances in the state to carry something that keeps the blood at the right temperature, and warms it up fast enough to help. Ambulances are packed already, there's no room for even a small fridge.