A Step to Preparedness: Giving Blood

We’ve often talked about our 3 steps to preparedness: Get a Kit, Make a Plan, and Be Informed. These steps go a long way towards keeping you and your family safe, but there’s another step that you can take to help keep your entire community safe: Give Blood.

You might be asking yourself how giving blood helps the community be prepared for a disaster. A lot happens behind the scenes at the Red Cross, as we process the blood and prepare it for use.

Nationwide, an average 41,000 blood donations are needed each and every day. The American Red Cross collects more than 40% of the nation’s blood supply, so we must collect and process thousands of units every day to keep up with the demand.

Our national inventory system allows us to move blood when it’s needed, where it’s needed. We move blood around the country to where it is needed most during shortages, or in times of natural or man-made disasters.

Imagine the surge of need for blood when a disaster strikes. In order to help immediately after a disaster, the Red Cross uses blood that is already on the shelves to support disaster victims. Without a regular flow of donations, this supply may not be readily available. Additionally, accident victims, transplant and cancer patients and others rely on blood products during their treatment. If collections are impacted by a disaster, their long-term care needs could be affected.

Minutes after the shooting tragedy in Tucson a few weeks ago, the Red Cross provided 80 units of type O positive blood to the hospitals where the shooting victims were taken for treatment. This immediate response was critical, and many members of the Arizona community stepped up afterwards to help replenish the blood supply.

You can play an important role in helping the Red Cross be prepared for any disaster by regularly donating blood. For more, check out these resources:

Find a local blood drive

American Red Cross videos on blood donations

Eligibility requirements for blood donors

Give Blood Countdown (Facebook app)

American Red Cross Blood Donors Facebook page

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