For Immediate Release

August 30, 2019

Media Contact

Jay Lewis

Public Urged to Donate Blood in Advance of Hurricane Dorian Making Landfall

Bethesda, Md. – As Hurricane Dorian is expected to make landfall soon, the AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism is urging eligible blood donors in parts of the United States unaffected by the storm to make donation appointments as soon as possible and to keep existing appointments. Blood collection organizations anticipate donation disruptions in the affected areas due to the holiday weekend, canceled blood drives and evacuations ahead of the storm. This disruption may particularly affect the supply of platelets, which have a limited shelf life of just five days. Donations are being sought now to ensure hospital patients will continue to have access to a readily available blood supply throughout the storm and its aftermath.

All blood collection agencies in the U.S. are making every effort to pre-position supplies in advance of the storm to ensure emergency blood needs of patients are met. It is important for eligible individuals to donate blood to ensure continuity of the blood supply in areas that may be impacted by Hurricane Dorian. Blood shortages could impact the health needs of patients in these areas.

People in the path of the storm should listen to local officials and monitor media outlets for the most current information on the approaching storm and its path. Eligible donors are encouraged to contact their local blood centers across the country for information on blood donation opportunities.

“We are asking potential donors, both current and first-timers, to make a commitment to donate blood and platelets,” said Dennis Todd, PhD, chair of the Task Force. “Donating now, or making an appointment to donate soon, will help to ensure that sufficient blood is available for all patients who need it during the storm and its aftermath.”

The Task Force will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as blood needs change.

Those interested in donating blood may contact the following organizations to find a local blood collection site and to schedule an appointment:

About the Task Force

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 Hospital Association, American Red Cross, Blood Centers of America, College of American Pathologists, Be The Match BioTherapies 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 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.