Red Cross urges blood donations after winter storms cancels blood drives nationwidePublished 9:31am Friday, March 1, 2013
Winter storms in several parts of the country have taken a toll on American Red Cross blood collections in February. Since the beginning of the month, more than 11,500 total blood donations have already been canceled in the Midwest and Northeast states due to severe winter weather.
Red Cross officials are urging individuals who live in areas not as severely impacted by winter storms to donate blood at area blood drives. “The Red Cross needs to collect approximately 17,000 units of blood each day to meet the needs of patients,” stated John Hagins, CEO of the Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region, which serves more than 80 hospitals in 100 counties over parts of six states. “This need continues even when Mother Nature strikes.”
Hagins explained that the Red Cross has the ability to move blood products where and when they are needed most, so donors in unaffected areas are encouraged to make and keep blood donation appointments to help offset the current shortfall.
While all blood types are needed, the Red Cross urges eligible donors with types O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative blood to make a lifesaving appointment.
To donate blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.