Sunday, March 26, 2023

Blood donors needed in preparation for Hurricane Ian

The Blood Connection is seeking donors as an on-call emergency center, stocking blood centers in the south as needed. (Courtesy/TBC)

As Hurricane Ian gears up to impact communities in the southeast, a South Carolina-based not-for-profit blood center is seeking donors.

The Blood Connection, founded in Greenville, S.C., is joining the preparedness efforts by sending blood products to communities in the storm’s path. It sent 1,000 blood donations to Florida already and is working to gather more to ship out this week.

Local hospitals also are stocking up ahead of the expected impacts over the weekend, and anyone who is able to donate blood is encouraged to do so.

“It is essential that blood donors replenish the supply now, to ensure lifesaving blood products are available when hospitals, or blood centers in Florida, call,” a press release states.

As a member of The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps, TBC is on call to send blood units to partner blood centers, should a natural disaster or emergency require. Though the BERC has not yet been activated, blood centers in impacted regions are already asking for help.

TBC is facing blood drive cancellations across its service areas as remnants of Hurricane Ian are expected to bring high winds and heavy rain. Bloodmobiles cannot travel when winds hit a certain speed and elevated rainfall make it difficult for TBC staff and potential donors to travel.

“The Blood Connection is no stranger to helping our neighbors in need,” Marie Forrestal, vice president of donor resources for The Blood Connection, said in a release. TBC supplied blood to New Orleans during Hurricane Ida last year and also to the Midwest in the wake of devastating tornados earlier this year.

“We’re asking our community to share in that effort and help before the storm hits,” Forrestal added in the release. “We can’t help if we’re not prepared, and it’s the blood on the shelves that saves lives. You never know when our region could be the one in need next.”

TBC supplies blood to more than 100 hospital partners across the Carolinas and Georgia. It operates 13 donation centers and deploys more than 50 blood mobiles daily. To find a center or mobile donation opportunity nearby, visit TBC’s website.

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