Hurricane Irene Impacts Blood Supply

The American Red Cross is moving blood products to the areas most likely to be affected by Hurricane Irene so that these products will be available during and after the storm.

It’s the blood that is already on the shelves that helps save lives before, during and after a disaster, so the Red Cross is urging immediate blood and platelet donations in areas unaffected by this storm. We are also asking that community members consider donating blood in affected areas once the storm passes through and it’s safe to do so.

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.

The Red Cross has already had to cancel more than 60 blood drives along the East Coast due to Hurricane Irene, resulting in the shortfall of more than 1,500 units of blood. It is expected that additional blood drives will be postponed in the coming days due to storm damage.

Nationwide, around 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. If blood collections are negatively impacted by a disaster, the long-term care needs of these patients could also be affected.

When disaster strikes, this need does not diminish, even though blood donors may find it difficult or impossible to get to a convenient donation opportunity. If people will make an appointment to donate blood in the upcoming days and weeks ahead, blood will be available in the aftermath should conditions prohibit people in some parts of the country from traveling or coming to blood drives.

Please help now. Make a blood donation appointment online or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Please be aware the Red Cross anticipates unusually high call volume over the next several days from those directly affected by the hurricane and you may experience long delays.

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