Immediate Need for Blood Ahead of Hurricane Irene

August 26, 2011

Red Cross Urges You to Donate Blood and Platelets


It’s the blood already on the shelves that helps save lives before, during and after a disaster.


The American Red Cross is urging eligible blood donors to schedule appointments to give blood, especially blood platelets, before Hurricane Irene makes landfall in the United States.


Platelets are the fragile cells that control bleeding and can be used by cancer patients and those undergoing chemotherapy.  Since platelets have a shelf-life of just five days, it is imperative that there are enough platelets on hand prior to the storm to meet the needs of patients in affected areas.


Platelets are collected at Red Cross donation centers through a special donation process called pheresis.  They are also one of three blood components extracted in the lab following your whole blood donation.  Red blood cells and plasma are the other components.


Giving blood now helps ensure it is available in the aftermath of the storm when conditions may prevent donors from traveling to blood drives. 


If you are unable to donate before Hurricane Irene hits, please consider giving blood in the days and weeks following the storm.


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.  These patients and others rely on blood products during their treatment.



How to Donate Blood:

Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit for more information or to make an appointment. All blood types are needed to ensure the Red Cross maintains an adequate blood supply. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Donors must be in general good health, weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old (16 with completed Parental Consent Form). New height and weight restrictions apply to donors 18 and younger. 


About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at