Because emergency situations are unpredictable, the American Red Cross needs regular donations to help ensure that blood products are available for patients at a moment’s notice. You can help ensure a sufficient supply for accident victims and others with serious medical conditions.

This May, the American Red Cross is calling for donors to give blood and platelets regularly to be prepared to meet the needs of patients in emergency situations.

According to the National Trauma Institute, trauma accounts for approximately 41 million emergency department visits and 2 million hospital admissions each year.

In March 2015, Kevin Frame suffered life-threatening injuries in a head-on collision during spring break. He received blood products to treat internal injuries immediately after the accident and during multiple surgeries while recovering.

“Without the blood and plasma products made available from donations, I would not be alive today to continue my rehabilitation journey,” said Frame, who had to relearn to swallow, speak and walk after the accident.

Regular blood, platelet and plasma donations help ensure that blood is available at a moment’s notice. In fact, it is the blood on the shelves that is used to help save lives at the time of an accident or sudden illness.

In trauma situations, when there’s no time to check a patient’s blood type, emergency personnel reach for type O negative red blood cells and type AB plasma because they can be transfused to any patient, regardless of blood type. Less than 7 percent of the population has type O negative blood, and only about 4 percent of the population has type AB blood.

Platelets may also be needed to help with clotting in cases of massive bleeding. Because platelets must be transfused within five days of donation, there is a constant – often critical – need to keep up with hospital demand.

Donors of all blood types are urged to roll up a sleeve this May to help meet the needs of trauma patients and others with serious medical conditions. Make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood anad platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

Volunteers needed

Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross is to become a volunteer transportation specialist and deliver lifesaving blood products to local area hospitals. Volunteer transportation specialists play a very important role in ensuring an ample blood supply for patients in need by transporting blood and blood products. For more information and to apply for a volunteer transportation specialist position, visit rdcrss.org/driver.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit RedCross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.