By Stephanie Stahl


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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The American Red Cross is reissuing its emergency call for blood and platelet donors after multiple snow storms, frigid temperatures and the government shutdown further reduced lifesaving donations that typically go down after the holidays. More bad weather in the forecast has the Red Cross especially concerned.

“We will lose blood drives as well, as a result of this,” said Guy Triano, regional CEO of the American Red Cross Eastern Pennsylvania.

Triano says nasty weather caused 4,600 donations to go uncollected because of canceled blood drives.

“So currently, blood is actually going out and being distributed to the hospitals faster than collections are coming in,” said Triano.

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The recent government shutdown is another factor that impacted more than 4 percent of Red Cross blood collections with about 30 blood drives hosted by federal offices being canceled.

“It’s an emergency, so that’s the highest level that we go under, which is an emergency,” said Triano.

The Red Cross strives to maintain a five-day supply of blood to meet the needs of patients and to be prepared for emergencies.

Because the Philadelphia region has so many hospitals, this area is constantly getting blood from other parts of the country, but it also depends heavily on local blood drives, which make up the bulk of the supplies.

All eligible donors, especially platelet donors and blood donors with type O blood, are urgently needed to help restock the shelves for hospital patients.

Donation appointments can be easily scheduled by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, or calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

Stephanie Stahl