ARC Asks Eligible Donors to Give Blood
As communities brace for Hurricane Sandy’s arrival, the American Red Cross urges immediate blood and platelet donations in areas unaffected by this storm and asks that community members consider donating blood in affected areas once the storm passes through and it’s safe to do so.
According to John Hagins, chief executive officer of the Greater Alleghenies Region Blood Services, the ARC has moved blood products to the areas that are most likely to be affected by Sandy so that these products will be available during and after the storm.
“Sandy has already caused the cancellation of several ARC blood drives along its path, including in our 100-county service area, resulting in a shortfall of several hundred units of blood and platelets thus far,” Hagins said.
“The storm has the potential to cause power outages and flooding in many areas along the East Coast, which will most likely result in the cancellation of additional blood drives and platelet donations throughout the week.”
Hagins emphasized that while Sandy will affect the number of people available to donate, hospital patients still need blood and platelets despite the weather. “Since platelets have a shelf-life of just five days, it is imperative that there are enough platelets on hand to meet the needs of patients across the country and those in the path of the storm,” he commented.
Nationwide, an average of 44,000 blood donations are needed each and every day to meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients and children with blood disorders. These patients and others rely on blood products during their treatment. This need does not diminish when disaster strikes.
The ARC has the ability to move blood around the country to where it’s needed most – especially during these critical times. “It’s the blood already on the shelves that helps save lives when disasters occur,” said Hagins. “The time to help is now.”
Locally, you may give blood and please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment to donate blood.
Platelet donations must be scheduled in advance by calling 1-800-542-5663, extension 2637, to donate at the Altoona, Beaver, Greensburg, Johnstown or State College platelet donation centers.
The ARC is mobilizing disaster workers in the regions that weather experts say will be affected by the storm, and has more than 100 emergency response vehicles on alert. Supplies are ready to be moved and shelter locations are being identified across multiple states. The ARC is working closely with federal, state and local government officials, as well as community partners to coordinate response efforts.
Individuals and families are asked to take personal preparedness steps and to download the free ARC Hurricane App to get ready for the storm now. The Hurricane App provides real-time hurricane safety information, such as weather alerts and where ARC shelters are located. The app also features a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm. The app can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for “American Red Cross.”
How to Donate Blood
Simply 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 permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are generally in 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.
About the American Red Cross:
The ARC shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The ARC is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.