Blood donors needed before Hurricane Ian hits

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 4:55 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - As Florida prepares for the impacts of the hurricane, local blood centers are joining preparedness efforts by gathering blood donors to stay fully stocked before the storm hits.

The need for blood is at an all-time high to ensure patients in those impacted areas have access to lifesaving care.

As Hurricane Ian threatens Florida, Community Blood Centers are working hard to supply hospitals in Florida, Alabama and Georgia before the storm hits.

LifeSouth Regional Manager Maggie Burns said the hurricane could not have come at a worse time as blood supplies are already low, and the storm will impact the blood demand over the next week.

“We need to have an ample supply of blood on our shelves, and currently, we do not. We want to be prepared and not only treat our patients at our local hospitals but if we have to move blood supplies to other states to help them to make sure,” said Burns.

Alabama Red Cross does not usually help Florida with natural disasters. Still, according to their website, a few days ago, they sent thousands of units of blood to Florida in preparation for Hurricane Ian.

Burns said human blood cannot be replicated and patients heavily rely on blood donations for those suffering from any serious injuries during a natural disaster.

“There is a national blood shortage, and there has been for about a year, and we get super nervous when we get into a situation like this when we know our neighboring states are going to need our help,” said Burns.

Currently, all blood types are needed, but Burns said O negative is more crucial due to it being universal. A hospital will use O negative when not knowing someone’s blood type. It only takes around 8 minutes to save three lives.

“I would love to just see everyone come out and support the people in Florida who are being significantly impacted by the weather,” said Burns.

For more information about donating blood, click here.