Blood shortage possible as Virginia braces for winter storm

FILE - Technician Greg Snyder finishes up a blood draw from Chris Page after he donated blood in an Indiana Blood Center Bloodmobile in Indianapolis, Aug. 20, 2013. (Michael Conroy/AP Photo, file)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Blood Services is encouraging you to consider making a blood donation as part of their emergency preparations ahead of this weekend’s wintry weather.

Officials want to ensure that an adequate supply of blood is available at hospitals across the region.

Since 1970, January has been designated as National Blood Donor Month to encourage donors to give or pledge to give. Blood is traditionally in short supply during the winter months due to holiday, travel schedules, inclement weather and illness.

“January, in particular, is a difficult month for blood centers to collect blood donations and can result in increased need and decreased donations,” says Virginia Blood Services’ Executive Director Todd Cahill.

As the state’s largest supplier of blood to area hospitals, Virginia Blood Services reminds us that in times like these, blood banks play a crucial role in meeting the needs for those receiving medical treatment across the Commonwealth.

“First and foremost, we want our donors to be safe in wintry conditions and to visit us when they feel safe traveling,” adds Cahill. ”With upwards of a foot or more snow in the forecast, it is important that we increase our blood supply on hand prior to the first snowflake hitting the ground.  With travel expected to be severely limited or impossible during the height of the storm, we need to be as proactive as possible.  Please consider donating prior to Friday as part of the preparations that we are making to support our community.”

In preparation for their donation, donors are asked to eat well, stay hydrated and arrive with proper identification. Blood donors must be at least 17-years-old (or 16-years-old with parental consent.)

For more information, visit vablood.org, or call 800-989-4438.

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