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Storms Take a Further Toll on Already Low Red Cross Blood Supply
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Red Cross
September 18, 2008

With power outages widespread in the aftermath of Hurricanes Ike and Hanna, blood supplies, which were already low in many parts of the country, continue to drop. Dozens of blood drives across the country were cancelled thus far, causing a shortfall in planned blood collections.

Blood Collection and Testing at the Penn Jersey Region and the National Testing Lab.
            Photographer: Daniel Cima
Blood Collection and Testing at the Penn Jersey Region and the National Testing Lab. Photographer: Daniel Cima

Due to power outages, several blood regions were operating on emergency generators and at least one regional headquarters building suffered minor damage after Ike swept through. The limited supply of gas also continues to provide a challenge for blood mobiles that would normally be out and about in specific in communities around the state. Lack of gas is keeping many grounded and others from going extensive distances.

Many blood donors have been unable to keep appointments due to weather-related causes. In some cases, the Red Cross has started to reduce the amount of blood products sent to hospitals in order to meet emergency needs for the rest of this week and into next week. The Red Cross sent 120 units of blood to two Houston area hospitals to replace blood products that were unusable as a result of the storm.

The train accident in Los Angeles also had an impact on blood supplies in that area. The local blood region shipped nearly 400 units of blood and blood products to area hospitals to support the victims of the train crash. Eligible blood donors who wish to help are encouraged to make an appointment in the days and weeks ahead.

Your blood donation will help ensure the Red Cross is ready to serve the needs of patients, no matter where they are. Call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or visit givelife.org to schedule an appointment. The Red Cross relies on blood already on the shelves to help in times of emergency.

The American Red Cross provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply (collecting more than 6 million units a year from volunteer donors) to patients in 3,000 hospitals across the country through its national network. Every two seconds, someone in America needs blood. The Red Cross must collect blood donations each and every day to meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients and children with blood disorders, and the organization works to accomplish this through its 36 Blood Services regions. Please call today to make your appointment to give the gift of life. Call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE to schedule your donation or to sponsor a blood drive.

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