WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross is responding to the huge winter storm barreling up the East Coast and asking people to give blood to make up for the blood drives canceled due to the storm.
The storm has caused the cancellation of about 265 Red Cross blood drives in the south and along the East Coast, resulting in nearly 9,300 uncollected blood and platelet donations. More are expected as the storm moves north. Back-to-back winter storms had already canceled more than 1,000 blood drives in 34 states and Washington, D.C. this year before this latest storm.
All blood types are needed now and will be needed in the coming weeks to help ensure blood is available for patients. If someone lives in a region unaffected by the storm and is eligible to give blood, the Red Cross asks that they please consider making an appointment to donate blood or platelets.
Appointments to give blood can be made online at redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS. To give blood, someone must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health. Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID with them. Some states allow 16-year-olds to give with parental consent.
RED CROSS RESPONSE The Red Cross is responding across much of the South into the Northeast to help the millions of people affected by heavy snow and ice and widespread power outages. More than 700 people across eight states spent Wednesday night in 110 Red Cross and community shelters and warming centers. As the storm moves northward, the Red Cross is working with emergency officials and has additional workers, relief supplies and emergency vehicles in position to help as needed.
"The Red Cross has shelters and warming centers open now and has workers and equipment standing by to help in other areas as this storm moves northward," said Richard Reed, senior vice president of disaster cycle services for the Red Cross. "This is a dangerous storm affecting millions of people. People should listen to their local officials, check on their neighbors and use caution as they wait for the storm to pass."
POWER OUTAGE SAFETY More than half a million people are already without power and this number could grow as the storm continues. If someone needs to find a shelter, they should follow their local media outlets or contact their local Red Cross chapter. If the power is out, follow these safety tips:
- Never use a stove or oven to heat one's home.
- Don't use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device inside the home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
- Don't hook a generator up to the home's wiring. People should connect the equipment they need to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
- If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
- If using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Use perishable food from the fridge first, then use food from the freezer. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours if the door remains closed.
- If it looks like the power will be out for more than a day, prepare a cooler with ice for freezer items. Keep food covered in a dry, cool spot.
More information about how to stay safe during this storm is available on the Red Cross web site.
HOW YOU CAN HELP You can help people affected by disasters like winter storms or countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
SOURCE American Red Cross