Tropical weather has the ability to wreak havoc on the blood supply, as even mild storms can cause a drop-off in collections, while major storms can impact not only collections but demand for blood. With two tropical weather systems, namely Gustav and Hannah, poised to potentially make landfall in the southeastern United States, it is imperative that eligible blood donors in the Alabama and Central Gulf Coast Region donate blood now to ensure the blood supply is as safe and stable as possible both before and after landfall.
Last week, though Tropical Storm Faye’s mild winds and heavy rains didn’t pack the punch of other recent tropical cyclones, the tropical system did hit the region’s blood supply as it moved across a large portion of the state of Alabama and Florida. The storm didn’t necessarily drive an increase in demand, but the severe weather and heavy rains did result in slower collections at drives scheduled for the last week, making the summer blood supply more fragile heading into the critical Labor Day holiday weekend.
As both Gustav and Hannah move towards possible landfall sometime immediately after the Labor Day weekend, the American Red Cross is calling on eligible volunteer donors to step forward to help prepare the blood supply leading up to these potentially dangerous storms.
“For those who live along the Gulf Coast, hurricane season can be a time of great trepidation,” said Evan Duffy, Senior Communications Specialist for the American Red Cross. “We’ve learned from recent tropical systems just how important preparedness is to successfully weathering the storm. Many of us begin to stock up on batteries, water and other essentials when a storm enters the Gulf, but we must also remember to include blood donation on our lists of vital preparedness activities as these storms draw near.”
To find a blood drive or donor center near you, please visit the Alabama and Central Gulf Coast Region website at www.givebloodsavelives.org or by visiting www.redcrossblood.org. You can also call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE to find a donation opportunity near you.
The American Red Cross, Blood Services, Alabama and Central Gulf Coast Region , which supplies blood to approximately 100 hospitals, needs 800 blood donors each day in order to meet the needs of patients in the region. Blood donors must be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds. Please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or visit www.redcrossblood.org to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets.