United Blood Services, this area’s non-profit community blood provider, has issued an emergency appeal for blood donations. Due to the recent Labor Day holiday, snowstorms and high usage, demand has outpaced supply significantly. All blood types are currently needed, especially O+positive, O-negative, A-negative and B-negative.
United Blood Services, 1444 Grand Avenue, Billings, has extended its hours this week to the following: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Sunday 10a.m. to 2 p.m. Donors may call 248-9168 to make an appointment. Appointments are also available at www.unitedbloodservices.org.
To streamline the donation process, donors may now complete the health history questionnaire online at www.unitedbloodservices.org The questionnaire must be completed the day of donation, and donors bring their printed Fast Track ticket to the center or blood drive. Walk-ins are always welcome: appointments are encouraged.
"This past summer, blood drives and donations weren’t as strong as expected and we have not seen the needed increase of donors since Labor Day. Supply is not keeping up with patient needs," said Lesli Asay, Donor Recruitment Director of United Blood Services. As of this morning, United Blood Services had outstanding orders for 779 red blood cells, the most commonly transfused blood component.
"Every 2-3 seconds in this country, someone needs blood. You never know when you or someone you love will be the one. We all expect blood to be available when we need it, but only a few of those who can give actually roll up their sleeves. We are asking our community to please take the time and come in and donate this week to ensure there is an adequate blood supply in the upcoming weeks," said Asay.Volunteer blood donors must be at least 16 year’s old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Additional height/weight requirements apply to donors 22 and younger, and donors who are 16 years old must have signed permission from a parent or guardian.