Red Cross facing blood shortage due to extreme weather

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"We're asking donors to help us have a strong recovery from the cold snap to help make sure we can provide a steady blood supply for our local hospitals".

The American Red Cross New Jersey Region has volunteer opportunities to help at blood drives within many communities called blood donor ambassadors.

The American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donors of all blood types. The Red Cross provides about 40 percent of the nation's blood supply, and now Red Cross blood products are being distributed to hospitals as fast as donations come in.

Christine Welch, communications manager for California Blood Services Region, said she did not have totals for the Sonora Red Cross Donation Center, but the Northern California Blood Services Region reported 750 fewer donations in November and December than is needed to meet the region's demands. But storms across the western part of the state have set back donations.

Illinois Valley Community College instructor and Red Cross volunteer Steve Swett said, "Donors can save up to 15 minutes during the donation process by registering through RapidPass to select their appointment time and fill out health history questions".

The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.

According to the nonprofit's CEO, Ana Montero, since January 1 volunteers responded to more than 35 fires in the state and helped 260 people from 92 families.

There are certain height and weight requirements to be allowed to donate. O-negative is a crucial - and rare - blood type because it is compatible with any patient.

Stanford Blood Center says they are seeking donations for any type of blood.

Donated blood is used to help accident victims and people in surgery, especially emergency trauma situations.

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