Blood shortage a result of storms, wildfires

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A major blood shortage is resulting from natural disasters across the United States.

The American Red Cross reports emergency levels in the nationwide blood donation supply due to wildfires in the West, flooding in Florida, and the recent Derecho and other storms that swept through the East Coast last week.

Power outages, home displacements, and debris cleanup have all factored into donors' giving patterns. In Washington, D.C. metro area, where tens of thousands of residents are still without power, blood donation centers are also closed due to outages.

"When people are set out of their homes, the last thing they're thinking about is donating blood," said Melanie McDonough, communications director with the Heart of Carolina ARC chapter in Greensboro.

McDonough notes the summertime is also a traditionally slow time of year for donations due to vacations. Plus, with the July 4th holiday falling mid-week, donations have been especially tough to collect. Nationwide, the ARC is reporting 50,000 fewer donations than expected for the month of June.

To set up an appointment to donate--call 1-800-REDCROSS. The donation centers in Winston-Salem and Greensboro are open 6 days a week.