Urgent appeal for blood donors - winter weather continues to affect supply

February 1, 2011

 The American Red Cross is prepared to respond to the destructive winter storm that is bearing down on the country from just east of the Rocky Mountains to the coast of New England. The storm is impacting a third of the population of the United States, and has brought blizzard conditions, heavy ice and snow.

This latest winter blast could further impact the Red Cross blood supply which has already seen more than 18,000 expected blood donations canceled over the last several weeks due to bad winter weather.  On Tuesday alone, 21 additional blood drives canceled in Ohio, representing 756 donations not collected.  The total donation shortfall in Ohio has now exceeded 2,200.  Currently the blood supply is critically low, forcing the local Red Cross to move supplies of type O-negative among hospitals to where it is needed most at any given time. 

People are asked to make an appointment to give blood as soon as possible.  Those who live in the path of the storm are asked to schedule a donation time when it is safe to travel. All blood types are needed, but there is a special need for donors with O-Negative, A-Negative and B-Negative blood.

People have been responding to the call for blood donors, and the Red Cross is grateful to those who are stepping up to donate blood to help build the blood supply back to where it should be. The Red Cross distributes blood products to approximately 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the United States, and 41 locally in Central Ohio.

“We are grateful for the upswing in donations which has occurred since we issued the call for people to give blood,” said Richard Benjamin, National Chief Medical Officer, American Red Cross. “However, this latest storm is expected to further impact our ability to hold blood collections. We continue to need the public’s help to rebuild our blood inventory back to a safe and adequate level.”

Red Cross chapters all across the country are prepared to respond to the storm as needed. The Red Cross is working with state and local government officials and calling disaster workers, getting them ready to respond if necessary.

An added bonus for those who come to give blood in February, they can enter to win free groceries for a year from Kroger.  To find out where you can give blood and to schedule your appointment, go to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) for additional information.  For information on how to stay safe and warm during sever winter weather, see below. 


Winter safety tips from American Red Cross:

Weather experts are predicting the storm could affect about 100 million people.  The Red Cross offers these steps people can take to stay safe and warm:

  • Do not use stoves or ovens to heat the home.
  • Place space heaters on a hard, level, nonflammable surface.  Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets, near bedding or drapes, and keep children and pets away. 
  • Turn off space heaters or extinguish the fireplace before going to bed or leaving home. 
  • Keep all flammable materials such as newspapers, matches, bedding, clothing, carpets and rugs at least three feet away from heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces and stoves.

If someone must go outside, they should wear layered lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves (or mittens) and a hat will prevent loss of body heat. Covering the mouth will protect the lungs. Other safety tips include: 

  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep feet warm and dry and to maintain footing in ice and snow.
  • If shoveling snow, take frequent breaks and stay hydrated. Avoid overexertion.
  • Avoid traveling by car in a storm, but if someone must be out on the roads …
  • Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk.
  • Keep the car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • The traveler should let someone know where they are going, the route being taken and expected arrival time. If their vehicle gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along the predetermined route.

For more information on how to stay safe and warm during this latest onslaught of winter, visit www.redcross.org.


Central Ohio Blood Services RegionColumbus, OH, 43205
United States
39° 57' 26.154" N, 82° 57' 57.132" W
See map: Google Maps