Officials with the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks issued an emergency appeal Tuesday for blood donations.
This is the center’s first code red alert since May 2011, when Joplin was struck by an EF-5 tornado.
The impact of weather conditions through much of December and into January, and low donor response through the holiday season are the primary factors contributing to the shortage.
The blood center said inventories of all blood types are dangerously low, with Rh-negative supplies nearly depleted. The center on Tuesday reported that O negative, B negative and A negative top the list of critically needed blood types.
“The extreme weather conditions have taken a big toll on the community blood supply,” said Don Thomson, executive director of the center. “Donations dropped by more than 30 percent in the month of December, and many area schools, who normally contribute up to 25 percent of the supply, may not resume normal schedules for another week.
“When you consider that a single trauma victim can require literally hundreds of units of blood, it becomes clear just how grave the situation has become. We are urging all eligible blood donors to give blood immediately and help boost depleted inventories.”
The center supplies blood and blood products to 38 area hospitals, including all of them in Joplin.
Eligible donors must be at least age 16, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. For more information or to locate a blood drive, people may visit www.cbco.org or call 800-280-5337.
THE JOPLIN DONOR CENTER, located near the main entrance to Northpark Mall, 101 N. Range Line Road, will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Friday.