Posted on 09/12/2018
Bonfils Blood Center, United Blood Services and our network of nonprofit blood centers across the country are calling on donors who are not in the path of Hurricane Florence to give blood in the coming days to help us ensure an adequate supply for patients in need of emergency and routine blood transfusions both locally and wherever the need arises.
Why is it important to give blood now?
Bonfils, United Blood Services and blood centers nationwide are constantly restocking hospital shelves, every day of the year. Patients receive blood products for cancer treatments, are treated for blood disorders, undergo surgeries and transplants. Many of those events are planned ahead. But blood is also needed for accidents and other emergencies, and it has to be ready before it's needed. Severe weather due to Hurricane Florence may cause donation centers in our coast-to-coast system to temporarily shut down and blood drives to be canceled. Even after the storm hits, flooding and other weather-related issues could affect transportation of blood products, so ensuring hospitals in the path are well stocked now is especially vital.
Will my blood go to hurricane-affected areas?
By giving blood, you're helping ensure the entire country's blood needs can be met. Any time you give blood, it takes about 36 hours to type, test and prepare your donation to be ready to be sent to a hospital. When the red blood cells, platelets and/or plasma from your donation are labeled and ready, they are sent where the need is at that moment. But whether your donation goes across town or across the country, you can assure your effort will transform up to three lives.
What blood types are needed?
Every blood type is needed to ensure every patient need can be met. While type O blood can be used in emergencies when there is not time to test a patient's blood type, a patient will be matched with their blood type whenever possible.
It's the blood already on the shelf that saves lives every day. That's why we encourage donors to give at least three times a year to make sure a safe and ready supply is always available to meet not just everyday patient needs, but every emergency situation that arises. See how your specific blood type can help patients and which donation types may be best for you.
How do I give?
Check out the eligibility requirements. Then find a convenient location. Appointments are preferred to minimize any wait times. Fill out your Fast Track Health History right before you come in to donate and get all the questions out of the way.
In Wyoming/South Dakota, visit unitedbloodservices.org.