Wisconsin blood donation centers aim to ship part of collections to region impacted by Hurricane Ian

MADISON, Wis. — Hurricane Ian has caused catastrophic damage in Florida and trapped thousands in their homes. For those watching the damage and looking for a way to help, one of the best ways is to donate blood.

ImpactLife is participating in a national response to supply blood for the region affected by Hurricane Ian. The blood center has been asked to send a shipment of Type O red blood cells to Florida.

“The storm will shut down the local blood centers. They won’t be collecting blood. What they have on hand is what they have, and when they run out, they need help from elsewhere. That’s when we come in,” said Kory Armstrong. He’s the supervisor of donor services for ImpactLife Madison.

“When the need is called upon, and we have surplus, we are able to help out,” said Erica Davidson with ImpactLife. She told News 3 Now that the amount of blood that is able to get sent to hurricane victims depends on donation turnout.

The organization will prioritize local needs before shipping blood components outside of the blood center’s direct service region. Armstrong said more donations will mean more will be able to be sent down south for hurricane victims.

“Our main priority is to make sure our local hospitals are taken care of, but I think a lot of them would understand if when a disaster happens that we do need to ship blood elsewhere in collaboration with local blood centers just to make sure that our national blood needs are also met,” he said.

Armstrong said it’s always important to donate blood, but the need is particularly high.

“Blood is at a critical need at all levels. Especially in the summer, our donations tend to dip, and so we have to rebuild that in the fall and winter with our collections,” said Armstrong. “Enough to have blood on the shelf will allow us to help with disasters as well.”

ImpactLife isn’t the only organization providing blood and other assistance to Hurricane Ian victims. The American Red Cross and Community Blood Center are just a couple of those other groups.

In an email to News 3 Now, Laura McGuire with the American Red Cross said as the storm inundates more and more communities in the Southeast, the Red Cross urges individuals in unaffected areas to schedule a blood donation appointment to ensure lifesaving blood remains available for patients in impacted areas.

RELATED: Here’s how you can help those affected by Hurricane Ian

To help people affected by Hurricane Ian, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word IAN to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

For information on local donation centers and mobile blood drives with ImpactLife, call (800) 747-5401, visit www.bloodcenterimpact.org, or schedule via the ImpactLife mobile app, available at www.bloodcenter.org/app.