A critical need for blood donations in Chattanooga area

It's a critical time for donating blood. | Photo by Karolina Grabowska via Pexels

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On Tuesday, a utility truck crashed into a Meigs County elementary school bus on its afternoon route. Those injured were taken to Erlanger, where they are being treated. This comes four years after Chattanooga’s fatal school bus crash on Talley Road.

Blood Assurance quickly responded to the school bus crash by extending center hours on Tues., Oct. 27 and Wed., Oct. 28 until 10pm at Cleveland, Downtown Chattanooga, Gunbarrel, and Hixson centers, and the hours will be extended until 7 p.m. tonight. Donors formed lines outside the doors to help out.

Donating blood is critical to saving lives, both in response to tragedy and every dayespecially during a pandemic.

Critical need

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Blood Assurance + American Red Cross have experienced months of critical need and a continual low supply of blood. The organization has not been allowed in many businesses for blood drives due to COVID-19, and fewer donors are leaving their homes to donate.

At the same time, many other aspects of life have returned to normal, like scheduled surgeries + an increase of trauma incidents due to travel.

On top of those obstacles, fall + winter bring challenges — more people become sick in the colder months, causing them to forgo donating blood. According to Blood Assurance, “historically, donations decline during the months of November, December, and January.”

What you can do

Ready to donate now? Make an appointment with Blood Assurance or American Red Cross.

Eligibility disclaimer: To donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old, weigh more than 110 pounds, and be in good health. Those who are 16 years of age may donate but require a one-time parental consent.

Worried about donating during a pandemic? Check out this story we wrote on how to safely give blood in the midst of COVID-19.

DYK — blood products have a short shelf life, and the supply must be replenished often. You can donate blood six times a year, which is once every eight weeks. Also, if everyone donated a couple times a year, there would never be a short supply, according to Blood Assurance. 

Want updates on those hospitalized from the crash? The story is developing + updated here.