OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Hurricane Ian was one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the country causing devastation and major flooding, but it’s causing even more issues. Now, the Oklahoma Blood Institute is in need of blood donations so they can send units of blood platelets to people affected by the hurricane.
If you haven’t given blood in a while, now may be a good time to do so. The Oklahoma Blood Institute says Hurricane Ian’s projected path through Georgia and the Carolinas is threatening to cancel more than 130 Red Cross blood drives this weekend, and possibly causing more than 2,700 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. So, they are now calling on Oklahomans to step up and donate.
“It’s really a double whammy when we think about what the hurricane has done to the blood supply,” said Matthew Trotter, Regional Communications Director, American Red Cross Kansas-Oklahoma Region.
Matthew Trotter with the American Red Cross said there’s a greater need for blood products in areas that have been affected by Hurricane Ian, and now there’s going to be less blood collected in those areas as a result.
“It’s the blood on the shelf already that’s going to help people in these areas impacted by hurricane. But then we need people to step up and give blood. So, we make sure there’s more after the products we have been distributed,” said Trotter.
The Oklahoma Blood Institute is calling it an emergency situation.
“You can imagine they’re obviously not having any donations right now… We have sent them blood. And what that does to us is it kind of diminishes the local blood supply, not only here in Oklahoma, but other blood centers around the country who are helping the state of Florida,” said Carson Cunningham, public relations manager for Oklahoma Blood Institute.
One blood donation can save up to three lives.
“If there’s injuries and, God forbid, casualties, that one-to-two-day supply dwindles to zero very quickly… In order for us to continue to help, we’re calling on local Oklahomans to step up and donate, because that really will go a very long way to us helping Florida and making sure that our local hospitals here in Oklahoma have the blood products they need,” said Cunningham.
Around 1,300 American Red Cross disaster workers are currently assisting in the impacted areas.
“That means that they’re not here when we have something like a home fire in Oklahoma. So, one way you can help is to volunteer and fill that gap that’s being left as people go to help people affected by hurricane,” said Trotter.
Please schedule an appointment to give blood or platelets today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
You can also check for the nearest blood donation location close to you on the Oklahoma Blood Institute’s website.
Also headed to Florida, The Oklahoma Children’s Hospital OU Health neonatal transport services team. They left for Fort Myers today to assist in evacuating NICU babies from area hospitals.