Red Cross calls for blood donations as hurricane heads toward Carolinas

September 13, 2018 GMT

GREENWICH — The American Red Cross is reporting an urgent need for blood as powerful Hurricane Florence heads for the Carolinas. And Greenwich residents can help.

A blood drive was held in town on Monday, but more donations are needed. Signs have been placed outside Christ Church on East Putnam Avenue, a heavily trafficked area near Temple Sholom, Greenwich High School and Interstate 95’s Exit 4 in Cos Cob to put a spotlight on the need for blood donations.

According to the Red Cross, Type O blood and platelets are critically needed because of the expected impact of the storm. The Red Cross has already stored blood products in the Southeast where the storm is expected to hit and stocked hospitals to capacity.


Because of those preparations, more blood is needed in other areas. By setting aside blood products for the storm, that could create deficits in other regions that donations from places such as Greenwich can fill.

“The need for blood is constant,” the Red Cross said in a statement. “We encourage eligible donors in parts of the country unaffected by the storm to give blood or platelets to help ensure a sufficient blood supply. Some Red Cross blood drives have already been canceled and additional cancellations are expected in the Southeast in the days ahead.”

Blood donors can download an app from the Red Cross website to manage and track their donations, said Abigail Adams, regional communications officer for the Red Cross’ Metro New York Region, which is located in Cos Cob.

“It’s important to remember that it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps during a disaster,” Adams said. “We depend on generous volunteer blood donors to provide lifesaving blood for those in need, each and every day, not only during times of disaster.”

Greenwich’s next blood drive will be from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 21 at Town Hall. The Red Cross’ website, at www.redcrossblood.org, has a list of upcoming blood drives in the region. Residents can also call 1-800-733-2767 for more information on donating blood.

The cancellation of blood drives in the Southeast spurred the call for action now, Adams said. By pushing available resources to the Southeast, it creates deficits elsewhere in the country.

“We have these periodic shortages during the year,” Adams said. “But the storm coming has really created this, and we’re trying to address it by having people donate now.”

Adams is hopeful that donors will heed the call in Greenwich. If the storm’s damage is significant, it could create an even bigger strain on the existing supply.


“By doing this and donating they’re saving a life, which is a great feeling,” she said.

Anyone planning to donate blood should eat a diet that includes green, leafy vegetables and red meat in the days leading up to ensure high levels of iron, the Red Cross advises. Donors should also drink a lot of water beforehand.

Blood donors should also avoid anyone who is sick. Donors must be in general good health and feeling well in order to donate blood and must weigh at least 110 pounds.