Ashley, Pennsylvania. Oct. 31, 2012 -- Superstorm Sandy forced the cancellation of more than 200 American Red Cross blood drives, resulting in a shortfall of more than 7,000 blood donations in the Northeast and about 9,000 blood donations in 14 states along the East Coast. More cancellations and additional losses of blood donations are expected while areas deal with the storm's aftermath. Now that the storm has passed, the Red Cross urges eligible area donors to give blood or platelets as soon as they are able.
"Sandy has affected blood collections along the East Coast," stated Donna M. Morrissey, Director of Communications of the American Red Cross - Northeast Division. "Now that our operations are up and running again, we encourage the community to come forward and help replenish the blood supply."
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. Blood has a limited shelf life and platelets have a shelf-life of just five days. Nationwide around 44,000 blood donations are needed each and every day to meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients, and children with blood disorders, these patients rely on blood products during their treatment. It is the blood that is already on the shelves that helps save lives before, during and after a disaster.
The Red Cross is providing safe shelter from the storm to thousands of people across nine states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. In addition, the organization is providing lifesaving blood for patients in area hospitals, thanks to the help of generous blood donors. Almost 11,000 people spent Monday night in more than 250 Red Cross shelters across 16 states and these numbers could increase.
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 mobilized disaster volunteers and is providing help and comfort to people in communities across the Northeast who are coping with damaging winds, flooding and power outages from Hurricane Sandy. The Red Cross is working closely with federal, state and local government officials, as well as community partners to coordinate 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.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.
(Information From American Red Cross)