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OneBlood in need of donations ahead of Hurricane Irma

Posted at 9:49 PM, Sep 05, 2017

As Hurricane Irma threatens the state, local blood centers are bracing for impact.

Not only is OneBlood preparing a blood supply to help storm victims in Puerto Rico but they're also making sure they have enough on supply here in Florida.

"The current path of Hurricane Irma is too close for comfort and that now is the time to alert the public that an increase in donations is needed," said Susan Forbes, VP of communication for OneBlood. "The most critical time for blood donations is prior to any storm in order to sustain the blood supply during and immediately after the event."

The blood bank fears Irma could disrupt the blood supply for several days.

"It's imperative that people make blood donation part of their hurricane preparedness because we don't know how much blood will be needed on the backend of the storm so it's important that there's a ready blood supply heading into it," said Forbes.

That's what happened in Texas after Hurricane Harvey devastated the area last week. OneBlood had to send several shipments from Florida to help victims.

"It devastated much of the area and blood centers weren't able to operate right away so we helped and sent additional units over there," said Forbes. "Right now, this is a very good example as to why a ready blood supply is so vital to every community. In an instant, blood is needed. And it has to be in advance of it ever being needed."

OneBlood has also been called to send 100 units to Puerto Rico as Irma approaches the island as a Category 5, so the blood supply is in critical need of donations.

"We were able to send them additional units the other day and we'll remain on stand by to help wherever we can. Our local needs always come first and we need to ensure that our hospital partners have what they need," said Forbes.

While all blood types are needed, there is an increased need for O negative and O positive blood as well as platelet and plasma donations.

"Many times people wonder why do you need more blood if the storm is coming, people aren't going to be out? But you have to remember that there are patients that are going to be riding out the hurricane in a hospital," said Forbes. "And blood is still needed for many of those patients. So we need to make sure that they have the units on hand that they need heading into the storm and that they have what they need."

The OneBlood banks across the area will be open the rest of the week but that might change this weekend because of Hurricane Irma.

Click here for more information and to find a donation facility near you.