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Blood supplies at or below emergency levels

August 28, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- With school still out for the summer, blood donations plummeted in August, putting local Red Cross blood supplies at or below emergency levels and prompting the agency to push for more donors.

The Greater Alleghenies Region of the American Red Cross received 1,600 fewer blood donations than projected this month, said Marianne Spampinato, regional communications director.

With more than 25 percent of all donations received in the Alleghenies region collected at school sites, at least four blood types are in need of replenishing, she said.

Dozens of blood drives have been planned across the 100-county region between now and Labor Day, with at least three in Franklin County next week, said Allen White, emergency services director for the Franklin County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

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The Red Cross gladly welcomes all types of blood, but some are more critically needed than others, Spampinato said.

As of Aug. 24, supplies of O negative, A negative, B negative and B positive blood had fallen to emergency levels, meaning that the region had less than two days of reserve supplies available, according to a press release issued by the agency.

The Red Cross considers a five-day supply to be an adequate level of reserves, Spampinato said.

While the exact amount of blood needed each day varies per type, a five-day supply is as much as 866 units of blood for the most-needed types.

The Alleghenies region serves 100 counties in six states including Franklin and Fulton counties in Pennsylvania, Washington County, Md., and Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties in West Virginia.

Summit Health is a major recipient of blood from the region.

The blood supply has been an ongoing concern for the Pennsylvania health conglomerate, said Anne Benedick, administrative director of laboratory services at Chambersburg Hospital.

"We typically see the supply of blood drop lower during the summer months and around the holidays," she said. "Even during those times, the American Red Cross has always been able to ensure an adequate supply is available to the hospitals."

At this point, hospitals of Summit Health have not been affected by the drop in blood supply reserves, Benedick said.

It takes approximately 48 hours to process a pint of donated blood, Spampinato said.

"Our reserves are constantly fluctuating, blood goes out to hospitals, new blood comes in," she said.

If upcoming blood drives are successful, the region will hopefully be able to build up its reserves by the Labor Day holiday, White said.

"When a life is at stake, we really can't wait for blood," he said. "We need donors now."

Tri-State blood drives scheduled



Upcoming blood drives in the Tri-State area:

Today

Shippensburg, Pa., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Liberty Baptist Church, 183 Oliver Road

Monday

Boonsboro, Md., 1 to 7 p.m., American Legion, 710 N. Main St.

Hagerstown, noon to 6 p.m. American Red Cross Blood Donor Center, 1131 Conrad Court

Martinsburg, W.Va., 1:30 to 6:30 p.m., Harvest Community Church, 74 DuPont Road.

Shepherdstown, W.Va., 2 to 7 p.m. Shepherdstown Fire Hall, W.Va. 45.

Tuesday

Greencastle, Pa., noon to 6 p.m., First Assembly of God Church, 525 E. Leitersburg St.

Wednesday

Hagerstown, noon to 6 p.m., American Red Cross Blood Donor Center, 1131 Conrad Court

Thursday

Waynesboro, Pa., 1 to 7 p.m., American Legion, 63 E. Main St.

Cascade, 1 to 7 p.m., Fort Ritchie Community Center, 14421 Lake Royer Drive

Friday

Roxbury, Pa., 1 to 7 p.m., Roxbury Lions Park, Cumberland Highway

St. Thomas, Pa., noon to 6 p.m., St. Thomas Fire Hall, 34 Schoolhouse Road

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