Bethesda, Md. – The AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism has determined that the current blood supply in the United States is adequate to meet the needs of patients in Las Vegas following the recent mass shooting.
“U.S. blood banks currently have enough blood to meet the immediate medical needs of patients being treated in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Las Vegas,” said Dennis Todd, chair of the Task Force. “The blood community is committed to ensuring a coordinated response to the affected areas and will continue to provide updates should additional blood supplies be required.”
Blood products have a limited shelf life – 42 days for red blood cells and five days for platelets – and must, therefore, be constantly replenished. In addition, it takes a minimum of 24 hours to process blood after collection. Because of this, it is the blood on the shelves that saves lives in the aftermath of a disaster. The Task Force stresses the importance of maintaining adequate blood supplies at all times
To help ensure that the U.S. blood supply remains sufficient, the Task Force recommends that eligible donors contact their local blood donation center to schedule an appointment for the coming weeks and months. The Task Force thanks those who wish to help and encourages all eligible individuals to give blood regularly to help ensure that blood is available whenever and wherever it is needed. As today’s response demonstrates, there is always a need for blood donation so that the health care system is prepared when a disaster occurs.
Those interested in donating blood may contact the following organizations to find a local blood collection site and to schedule an appointment:
The Task Force was formed in January 2002 to help make certain that blood collection efforts resulting from domestic disasters and acts of terrorism are managed properly and to deliver clear and consistent messages to the public regarding the status of America’s blood supply. The Task Force is composed of representatives from U.S. blood services, associations and commercial entities, as well as liaisons from governmental agencies, who work together in an effort to ensure that safe and adequate blood product inventories are in place at all times in preparation for disasters. In addition, the Task Force operates as a mechanism to assess the need for collections and/or transportation of blood should a disaster occur.
AABB serves as the designated coordinating entity for the Task Force. In addition to AABB, members include AdvaMed, America's Blood Centers, American Association of Tissue Banks, American Hospital Association, American Red Cross, Blood Centers of America, College of American Pathologists, National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match, and the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association. Liaisons from the following government agencies also participate in Task Force discussions: Armed Services Blood Program and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration.
In the event of an emergency, AABB immediately convenes a meeting of Task Force representatives. Local blood center(s) are responsible for ascertaining medical needs based on casualty estimates using pre-determined formulas, assessing available local supply, and communicating that information to the Task Force.
- In a disaster, the first priorities of the interorganizational Task Force are to:
- Verify and communicate to the blood community the medical need for blood;
- Identify sites with existing excess blood inventory;
- Determine the need, if any, for blood shipment and the logistics of such shipments; and
- Develop public messages and facilitate the discussion of donor issues.
AABB is an international, not-for-profit association representing individuals and institutions involved in the fields of transfusion medicine and cellular therapies. The association is committed to improving health through the development and delivery of standards, accreditation and educational programs that focus on optimizing patient and donor care and safety. AABB membership includes physicians, nurses, scientists, researchers, administrators, medical technologists and other health care providers. AABB members are located in more than 80 countries and AABB accredits institutions in more than 50 countries. For more information, visit www.aabb.org.