What can you do from hundreds of miles away to help Florida residents staring down a killer hurricane? Donate blood.
The American Red Cross and OneBlood, a Florida not-for-profit blood center, are among agencies issuing urgent calls for blood donations to aid in recovery efforts and make up for the suspension of blood donation efforts in the storm-lashed state.
After long days of anxious preparations and waiting, Hurricane Irma has landed in South Florida, still a dangerous Category 3 storm, lashing the Florida Keys and projected to move up Florida’s Gulf Coast. More than a million households and businesses have no power in South Florida, and dangerous flooding and tornadoes are possible.
Along with mobilizing relief supplies and volunteers, the American Red Cross seeks blood donations from across the United States to aid the injured after the hurricane passes.
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Along with increasing the potential demand for blood, Hurricane Irma forced OneBlood to suspend all blood donation activities Saturday in Florida. “The need for blood does not stop for a hurricane, it only becomes more intensified,” the agency says.
The blood supply in Texas also was disrupted for several days following Hurricane Harvey. OneBlood sent supplies west to aid in those recovery efforts.
All blood types are needed, but OneBlood reports an urgent need for platelet donations and O negative blood.
Find more information on donating blood for America’s Blood Centers at www.americasblood.org, the American Red Cross at www.redcrossblood.org or 1.800.RED CROSS (+1.800.733.2767), and the Armed Services Blood Program at www.militaryblood.dod.mil or 1.703.681.8024.
The Miami Herald contributed to this story.