Blood donations needed before Memorial Day weekend

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RENO, NV (KOLO) - According to local health officials, the Reno-area blood supply is well below ideal levels.

A low blood supply means the lives of many could be at risk.

“It’s not just for, you know, chaotic situations. It’s for everyday surgeries, it’s for trauma, and it’s for accidents,” says Alma Webb with Vitalant Northern Nevada.

Webb says currently Northern Nevada has a less-than-adequate supply.

“We have been hovering at about a one-day supply and we usually like to stay at about a four-day supply,” says Webb.

Webb says the shortage is due to high usage in the area and with a holiday weekend coming up, experts are concerned.

“With more people on the streets, more people traveling, it increases the chances of us using the blood,” says Webb.

Webb adds they need all blood types but are urging those with O-negative to go in as soon as possible.

“It’s about 7 percent of the population, and it’s the first thing that goes out the doors when there is a traumatic injury and we don’t know the blood just type yet; it’s the universal donor,” says Webb.

To donate you must be at least 16 years old and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds. Donors say the process is quick and painless.

“I think I was done in like 15 minutes. So it was really easy, really simple, and pretty fast,” says first-time donor Tabitha Cox.

“There’s minimal discomfort. There’s nothing, it’s really, really easy process,” says frequent donor Tim Robb.

Webb says every two seconds someone will need a lifesaving transfusion and each person has the ability to save three lives.

It’s one pinch that could give a pulse.

During the month of May Vitalant is giving each donor a ten-dollar Fandango gift card. Webb says they are aiming to collect 900 donations by Memorial Day.

Walk-ins are always welcome, but appointments are recommended and can be made through Vitalant.org or 877-25-VITAL. Vitalant donation centers in Carson City, Reno and Sparks will host special operating hours during Memorial Day Weekend from 8:00am – 3:00pm.

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