CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Americans are being urged to donate blood.
Hurricane Harvey and its associated flooding are impacting the nation's blood supply, according to the American Association of Blood Banks.
With blood drives canceled for multiple days due to dangerous widespread flooding in Southeast Texas, all blood collection agencies in the U.S. are making every effort to meet the emergency blood needs of patients and ensure a sufficient blood supply in storm affected areas.
Before the storm hit, the American Red Cross, in particular, made sure there was an adequate blood supply in Houston and Dallas.
But the goal is to get ahead of the curve so donations are not negatively impacted by the storm.
"We've seen a lot of folks coming in here today who are using Harvey as a reason to give blood, which is incredible because any time you have a natural disaster it really emphasizes the importance of having a lot of blood in supply," said the spokesman for the Palmetto Region of the American Red Cross Cuthbert Langley.
Officials are asking blood donors to give in the coming days and weeks to meet the immediate and future needs in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Individuals with Type O blood are critically important because it is the only blood type that can be safely transfused to most patients with other blood types and is frequently used in emergency situations.
"So many people love the Lowcountry for its sights and sounds – but seeing Charlestonians and everybody from the Lowcountry really coming together this week to support those impacted by Harvey is really enlightening," Langley said.
In South Carolina, we lost 2,083 units of blood last year from blood drive cancellations because of Hurricane Matthew.
Langley adds the Red Cross has an urgent need for blood as blood is being distributed to hospitals as fast as it is coming in.
The blood supply fluctuates daily but the organization aims to keep up with patient demand by collecting 500 units every day in South Carolina.
Those interested in donating blood may contact the following organizations to find a local blood drive and to schedule an appointment:
AABB: www.aabb.org; 1-301-907-6977
America's Blood Centers: www.americasblood.org
American Red Cross: www.redcrossblood.org; 1-800-RED-CROSS
Armed Services Blood Program: www.militaryblood.dod.mil; 1-703-681-8024