Urgent call for blood donations after Ian devastates Florida, Carolinas

OneBlood urging blood donations in areas not impacted by Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian’s trail of destruction left parts of Florida and the Carolinas in shambles.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hurricane Ian’s trail of destruction left parts of Florida and the Carolinas in shambles.

“It was like a dam broke. It was taking everything,” said Kevin Behen, whose home was destroyed in Fort Myers Beach.

“We’re facing a tragedy. It’s a national disaster down here,” said Claudette Smith, the Charlotte Country Sherriff’s Office Spokesperson.

OneBlood is urging blood donors in areas not impacted by Hurricane Ian to donate as soon as possible.

“A significant portion of our service area in Florida has suspended blood collections due to dangerous conditions from Hurricane Ian. However, we remain operational in North Florida, the Florida Panhandle, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. We are urging people who live in these areas that are not being impacted by the storm to donate,” said Susan Forbes senior vice president of corporate communications and public relations for OneBlood.

Ian caused historic damages impacting more than 2 million people.

The storm is also taking a toll on the nation’s already shortened blood supply that started during the pandemic.

“The hurricane certainly did make our situation worse because our blood supply depends on people donating and getting into the hospital,” OneBlood’s Patrick Michaels said. “You may have been lucky that you didn’t get hit by Hurricane Ian. You may be cleaning up a little bit and be thinking how can I help? This is a big way to help. It could be very profound and could save lives.”

All blood types are needed and there is an increased need for O Negative and O Positive donors, as well as platelet donors.

OneBlood serves more than 250 hospitals throughout the southeastern United States. Trauma patients, premature babies, sickle cell patients and patients needing non-elective surgeries, just to name a few, continue to need a blood transfusion.

“The need for blood does not stop for a hurricane. We are depending on donors in the areas where we are open to please help with blood collections during this challenging time,” said Forbes.

To find a donor center or Big Red Bus blood drive near you please visit oneblood.org.

About the Authors:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.