Officials: Red Cross in urgent need of blood donations after Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma has forced the cancellation of dozens of Red Cross blood drives in the Southeast, resulting in more than 2,100 uncollected donations


Kokomo Tribune

FORT WAYNE, Ind. —As the American Red Cross responds to wildfires and historic hurricanes, eligible donors are reminded that giving blood during National Preparedness Month in September is one way to help ensure the Red Cross is prepared to respond to patient emergencies across the country every day.

Hurricane Irma has forced the cancellation of dozens of Red Cross blood drives in the Southeast, resulting in more than 2,100 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Natural disasters like hurricanes can disrupt blood drives and prevent donors from giving, but hospital patients still depend on lifesaving transfusions. Volunteer blood donors are the only source for blood products needed by hospital patients.

Hurricane Irma has forced the cancellation of dozens of Red Cross blood drives. (Photo/American Red Cross)
Hurricane Irma has forced the cancellation of dozens of Red Cross blood drives. (Photo/American Red Cross)

Individuals in parts of the country unaffected by Hurricane Irma are encouraged to give blood to help ensure a sufficient blood supply. All blood types are currently needed. Appointments can be made by using the Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 800-RED-CROSS. To help reduce wait times, donors are encouraged to make appointments and use RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questions online, on the day of their donation, from a computer or mobile device at redcrossblood.org/rapidpass.

As a thank-you, those who come to donate blood through Sept. 30, will receive a coupon for a free haircut at participating Sport Clips locations. More information is available at redcrossblood.org/sport-clips.

More information about how the Red Cross is responding to hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the western wildfires and other disasters is available at redcross.org.

To donate blood, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767) 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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.

Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross is to become a volunteer transportation specialist and deliver lifesaving blood products to local area hospitals. Volunteer transportation specialists play an important role in ensuring an ample blood supply for patients in need by transporting blood and blood products. For more information and to apply for a volunteer transportation specialist position, visit rdcrss.org/driver.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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