As historic Hurricane Irma looms closer to the Florida coast, OneBlood has announced
it will cease all service-area operations for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The nonprofit blood collection agency is urging potential donors to give blood now, while the majority of its operations remain open.
Currently, all centers in South Florida have closed, as have those in Brevard and Indian River counties.
Orange County locations, however, are still accepting blood donations. Visit OneBlood's website
to find an open center near you. All that's required is a government-issued ID. Snacks are provided.
Speaking today in a OneBlood Facebook video
, vice president of marketing and communications Susan Forbes emphasized the increased need for blood donations during the aftermath of a hurricane. "People are going to be in the hospital, [and] there are many patients who require ongoing blood transfusions."
Both the immediate and long-term health impacts of natural disasters can be devastating. Flood waters can hide dangerous sharp objects and strong winds can send debris flying. Taking a note from the recent impact of Hurricane Harvey, Forbes stated, "This storm is serious, and we're taking it seriously."
Most healthy individuals over the age of 16 are able to give blood. The most in-demand blood types are O positive and O negative, though people with all types are encouraged to donate.