American Red Cross urges immediate blood donations

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 18, 2011

HUNTINGTON, W Va. — The American Red Cross is urging immediate blood and platelet donations to improve declining blood inventory levels. All blood types are needed, but types O positive and A positive are experiencing particularly high demand.

“Blood collections following the Labor Day weekend have been weak, and the significant rainfall and flooding occurring on the east coast is affecting blood donations in those areas,” said John Hagins, CEO of the Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region. “However, even taking into account the holiday, we are collecting significantly less than expected while shipments to area hospitals have been strong.

The combination of low collections and increased distributions results in a struggle to maintain an adequate inventory.”

Email newsletter signup

The Red Cross is asking people who live in areas unaffected by the remnants of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee to donate blood.

Dozens of blood drives up and down the east coast have been cancelled, resulting in the shortfall of several thousand blood donations, with more expected as a result of continued flooding in Pennsylvania and New York.

Hagins added that local hospitals have been advised of the inventory status and have been asked to conserve the available blood supply as much as possible.

Individuals can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-700-733-2767) or go online at to find blood drives in their area and schedule an appointment. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-in donors are welcome.

Those who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in many states), meet height and weight requirements (at least 110 pounds based on height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.

Those with specific eligibility questions should call the Red Cross Donor Client Support Center at 1-866-236-3276. Many donors are eligible to give blood every 56 days.

Individuals may also follow the Red Cross on Twitter: