The recent snow, ice and wind storms that hit the Puget Sound area two weeks ago not only clobbered trees and power lines but severely affected the region's blood supply, according to a spokesperson for the Puget Sound Blood Center (PSBC).
The bad weather and hazardous travel conditions made it difficult for people to come out to PSBC's 11 donation centers to give blood and it made it equally hard for mobile donation vehicles to travel to various blood drive sites, said Dave Larsen, PSBC's director of communications.
Such was the case with a blood drive that had been scheduled for Jan. 23 at Sacred Heart Church in Enumclaw but was cancelled due to the power outage that hit the city, said James Libra, Grand Knight of the local Knights of Columbus chapter that sponsored the event.
The Knights of Columbus have rescheduled the drive for this Wednesday, Feb. 1 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at , and according to Larsen, the timing couldn't be better as the Center is still recuperating from the loss in supply two weeks ago.
"This was the biggest depletion of supply we've had in more than 10 years," he said.
Weekly donations usually amount to about 900 units, said Larsen, but the week of the storm, the Center brought in less than 150 units. A stable blood inventory is about 4,500 units but the Center was down to 2,200 by the end of the week, he said.
"We did put out a call on that Friday once it started to melt," he said, "and we're still working to replenish supply. We've come a ways but we're not really there yet."
The turnaround for donated blood to reach a recipient is relatively quick, and PSBC does supply blood to hospitals spanning Bellingham to the Oregon border including in town, Larsen said. Whole blood has a shelf life of 42 days with refrigeration, with substrates like plasma and platelets having even shorter shelf life, so "every day and every week, we need to replenish supplies," he said.
PSBC is looking for all donors but in particular are seeking the universal o-negative blood type as well as o-positive as that is the most common type and used the most by hospitals in the region, Larsen said.
Wednesday's blood drive takes place at Parish Hall at 1614 Farrelly Street. The drive goes from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. though it will be closed from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
You can schedule an appointment by contacting Maureen Libra at (253) 278-3395 or you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you can't make the blood drive at Sacred Heart this Wednesday, consider any of the following mobile blood drives that will also take place in the Plateau area in the coming weeks:
- Friday, Feb. 3 at Lake Sawyer Christian Church in Black Diamond from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., By Appointment
- Monday, Feb. 6 at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Enumclaw from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Friday, Feb. 10 at Enumclaw Medical Center in Enumclaw from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Sunday, March 11 at St. Barbara's Catholic Church in Black Diamond from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Or search for a blood drive near you.