The American Red Cross’s blood supplies are “critically low” in northern New England after donations fell short in the past two months, the organization said.
The number of donations typically drops over the summer months. But Mary Brant, a Red Cross spokeswoman, said the current shortage is the worse she’s seen since starting with the organization four years ago.
“The summer is always a very difficult time for collecting blood,” said Brant. “Blood donations have fallen short of expectations the past two months.”
Brant cited a drop in blood drives over the summer months, schools being out of session and more people vacationing.
Only 3 percent of the population donates blood each year nationwide and hospitals are using donated blood at a faster rate than it is coming in, which is contributing to the shortfall, she said.
The Red Cross currently has less than a five-day blood supply on hand — the organization’s benchmark amount allowing it to respond to emergencies with mass injuries, such as the Boston Marathon bombings, she said.
“We really need people to come in and donate now. But we also need them to look at their friends and family and ask them to come in with them,” Brant said.
To schedule an appointment to donate, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800- RED CROSS (1-800- 733-2767).