Following Hurricane Irene, Red Cross Urges Immediate Blood and Platelet Donations

August 29, 2011

Baltimore, MD, Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas


In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the local Red Cross is now urging immediate blood and platelet donations. The American Red Cross has already had to cancel more than 60 blood drives along the East Coast due to Hurricane Irene, resulting in the shortfall of nearly 1,500 units of blood. In addition, hundreds of area blood and platelet donors have been unable to make their scheduled donation appointments because of storm-related issues. Local blood drive cancellations because of power outages continue to impede Red Cross operations this week. Call 1-800-RED CROSS to register for current blood drives in unaffected areas.


The local Red Cross has an urgent and very critical need for eligible platelet donors. Eligible platelet donors are asked to call 1-800-272-2123 and immediately schedule a donation as soon as possible. Platelets are commonly used for patients undergoing cancer treatment, trauma victims and many other hospital patients. Since platelets have a shelf-life of just five days, it is imperative that there are enough platelets on hand to meet the needs of local hospital patients in need.


Nationwide, around 44,000 blood donations are needed each and every day to meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients, and children with blood disorders. Every 2 seconds, someone in America needs a blood transfusion. These patients and others rely on blood products during their treatment. 


To schedule an appointment to donate blood, please call 1-800-RED CROSS. Eligible platelet donors should call 1-800-272-2123. For more information visit


Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.  Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate. For volunteer information, please call 1-800-272-0094 x1. The GC&P Region of the Red Cross serves areas in Maryland, Washington, D.C., northern Virginia and southeastern Pennsylvania.




Media contact: Mike Baisey, Communications Manager, American Red Cross GC&P Blood Services Region, Phone: 443-986-5275, Email: