Hurricane Ian struck Florida as an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm, bringing catastrophic storm surges, winds and flooding. While the American Red Cross does not typically serve hospitals in Florida, we sent several hundred blood products to Florida in advance of the storm to ensure patients in impacted areas have continued access to lifesaving care.
Additionally in anticipation of considerable flooding in Georgia and the Carolinas, the Red Cross is working to ensure our hospital partners are sufficiently stocked in areas likely to be affected by the second landfall of the storm. Weather reports are predicting the storm could drop as much as a foot of rain and cause significant flooding, which could lead to blood drive cancellations and disrupt blood collections in the Southeast. Individuals in unaffected areas across the United States are urgently asked to schedule a blood or platelet donation appointment now. There is an especially critical need for platelet donations, as well as types O negative and O positive blood donations.
Running from June through November, Atlantic hurricane season can be a scary time for many along the coast. Large storms like Michael, Charlie and Ian can cause widespread devastation and disruption to essential services across multiple states. Deadly storm surges and torrential rain may cause widespread flooding and water damage. Extreme winds can rip roofs from homes, uproot trees and down power lines – destroying homes, causing power outages and making roads impassable for many in affected areas for extended periods of time. As millions in the path of Hurricane Ian begin to assess damage and prepare for ongoing effects of the storm, it’s important to remember that medical care remains critically important and the need for blood remains constant.
Following a large storm, such as Hurricane Ian, the Red Cross immediately gets to work providing comfort and support to those affected by the storm as they confront the challenges and uncertainties such disasters bring. We work in close coordination with our partners to ensure critical support – such as emergency shelters, food, water and relief supplies – is available when and where people need it most. Helping these communities becomes our top priority, and that includes making sure there are enough blood products on hospital shelves to help patients across the U.S.
It isn’t just the devastation of homes and communities that’s on the line during a hurricane. Canceled blood drives and closed donation centers in a storm’s path could disrupt blood and platelet donations, which can have negative effects on the national blood supply. Donors in areas unaffected by the storm are needed to help ensure ongoing patient needs in the Southeast and across the U.S. do not go unmet. Blood can take up to three days to best tested, processed and made available for patients, so it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency.
During these times, the Red Cross urgently seeks blood donors in areas unaffected by Hurricane Ian. If you can safely travel, please schedule an appointment to donate blood or platelets. (If you live in an affected area, please focus on your safety and well-being. Your blood or platelet donation will be just as valued when things settle.) Your donation can help ensure patients in the storm’s path have access to a strong blood supply, while also helping to make up for uncollected units in impacted areas, thereby shoring up the national supply. Your blood, plasma or platelet donation helps ensure that patients everywhere have access to these lifesaving supplies. Can we count on you to help in these critical times?
Interested in other ways to help? You can assist people affected by storms like Hurricane Ian by making a financial donation here. You can also sign up to become a volunteer to help within affected communities. Our work is possible because of people like you.