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AABB > Programs & Services > Disaster Response

Disaster Response 

AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism
Disaster Operations Handbook
Raising Priority Status of Blood with State/Local Emergency Management Agencies
AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Pandemic Influenza and the Blood Supply
Guidelines for Mass Fatality DNA Identification Operations

If you are a blood collector experiencing a disaster*, contact the AABB’s Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism.

AABB Disaster Task Force:


*Definition of a “Disaster”

Unless otherwise stated, a “disaster” includes any domestic disaster or act or terrorism that:

  • Suddenly requires a much larger amount of blood than usual
  • Temporarily restricts or eliminates a blood collectors ability to collect, test, process and distribute blood
  • Temporarily restricts or prevents the local population from donating blood or restricts or prevents the use of the available inventory of blood products requiring immediate replacement or re-supply of the region’s blood inventory from another region
  • Creates a sudden influx of donors requiring accelerated drawing of blood to meet an emergent need elsewhere

Members of the media should visit the Pressroom section for updates regarding disasters affecting the blood supply.

For non-disaster inquiries, please contact AABB +1.301.907.6977, aabb@aabb.org, during regular office hours, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (ET) or consult a listing of AABB departmental email addresses and telephone numbers.

AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism

The AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism (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 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

Disaster Operations Handbook

The following Operations Handbook is designed to assist blood centers, hospital blood banks and transfusion services in preparing for and responding to future disasters and acts of terrorism that affect the blood supply.

Disaster Operations Handbook (v. 2.0, PDF)
Coordinating the Nation's Blood Supply During Disasters and Biological Events

Overview of Response Plan (v. 2.0, PDF)

Disaster Operations Handbook: Hospital Supplement (v. 2.0, PDF)

Raising Priority Status of Blood with State/Local Emergency Management Agencies

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have recently communicated with state and local emergency management agencies and regional health administrators asking them to work to ensure that blood support to patients in disasters is appropriately prioritized in state, territorial, tribal and local emergency planning.

During previous exercises and actual disasters, some blood centers encountered difficulties in obtaining fuel for generators to collect and maintain blood supplies, emergency vehicles to distribute blood with a limited shelf-life, or reliable access to emergency communications. The AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism (task force) has urged HHS and DHS to help address this problem, in part by increasing awareness among state and local emergency management agencies about the need to prioritize blood needs.

The task force continues to urge blood centers to contact their state, local or territorial emergency management and public health agencies and participate whenever possible in their emergency planning and response activities. If a blood center has had any difficulty establishing relationships with or obtaining support from such agencies, AABB suggests that the facility share the attached letters from DHS and HHS with the state and local agencies to underscore the importance of the blood supply during disasters and exercises.

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