By Greg Rayburn
Hurricane Sandy has forced the cancellation of more than 300 American Red Cross blood drives in 14 states along the East Coast, resulting in a shortfall of nearly 9,000 blood and platelet donations already.
The shortfall is expected to grow as Sandy is causing power outages and flooding in many areas. All eligible donors in unaffected parts of the country are encouraged to roll up a sleeve and give blood or platelets.
Blood drives will be held soon in Sherwood and Jacksonville where residents can donate blood and help:
— Nov. 7 from 12-4 p.m. at St. Vincent Medical Center, 2215 Wildwood Ave.
— Nov. 12 from 12-4 p.m. at First Electric Cooperative, 1000 S. JP Wright Loop Road.
"Just as Red Cross volunteers have mobilized to provide disaster relief and other emergency assistance, we are mobilizing blood and platelets donations to ensure patients have access to the potentially lifesaving blood products they need," said Michele Wright, CEO, of the Red Cross Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Blood Region. "When you donate blood or platelets through the Red Cross, you can help patients in your local community and patients across the country, including those in Hurricane Sandy’s path."
The Red Cross partners with more than 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country, providing blood products donated by giving individuals, and specialized laboratory services. While Hurricane Sandy affects the number of people available to donate, patients will still need blood and platelets despite the weather.
All blood types are needed to ensure an adequate blood supply is available during a disaster, especially type O positive, O negative, A negative or B negative blood. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. 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 (16 with parental permission in some states), 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.
How to Help
The Red Cross has mobilized disaster volunteers and is providing safe shelter from Hurricane Sandy to thousands of people in the storm’s path. The Red Cross is working closely with federal, state and local government officials, as well as community partners to coordinate response efforts.
To help people affected by disasters like this, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to a local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
Red Cross Apps
The free Red Cross Hurricane App for mobile devices provides real-time hurricane safety information such as weather alerts and where Red Cross shelters are located. The app also features a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm, and the one-touch "I’m Safe" button lets someone use social media outlets to tell family and friends they are okay. The Hurricane App is available in Spanish. Users just need to make sure the language setting on their smart phone is set to Spanish before downloading. The First Aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in someone’s hand. The apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.