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Red Cross: Blood Shortage Could Lead to an Emergency

One of the last things people might think about on a beautiful summer day is giving blood, and the American Red Cross is starting to notice that the drop in donations could be serious.

Blood donations have decreased by 8 percent over the last 11 weeks meaning that the Red Cross is down by approximately 80,000.

“This shortfall is significant enough that without increased donor turnout we could experience an emergency situation in coming weeks,” said Marianne Spampinato, Red Cross’s External Communications Manager.

Spampinato said the drop of donors could come from summer vacations, schools being out, summer activities, and just the heat can even deter people from rolling up their sleeves. She said that the Red Cross does try and prepare for this historically low time, but this time is more significant than before, and they have done all they can to get people to come out.

“We launched our '100 Days of Summer. 100 Days of Hope' campaign Memorial Day weekend. We have factored in some donor promotional items around the summertime holidays and that did increase donor turnout right around some of the holiday blood drives, but unfortunately we had fewer blood drives scheduled than we typically do,” said Spampinato.

She said Independence Day impacted donations because it was on a Friday, which led to a lot of people taking vacations for the week. In an average summer week the Red Cross has 4,400 blood drives scheduled, and Independence day week only 3,450 were scheduled.

The Red Cross especially needs O negative, B negative and A negative blood, along with platelet donations. For a list of blood drives to donate at, visit the Red Cross website and type in a zip code.