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Canadian Blood Services is urging more blood donations as fires, floods reduce inventory

Unusual natural disasters are exacerbating summer blood shortage
Canadian Blood Services says the national blood inventory has declined because of fires, floods and other disasters that are happening across the country this summer. (Contributed photo.)

Canadian Blood Services is urging anyone who can donate blood or plasma to make an appointment now as fires and floods have drastically reduced the number of people who are donating.

“Between heat waves and forest fires, torrential rains and flash floods, communities are strained… Fewer people have been donating, but despite these circumstances, patients continue to need vital donations of blood and plasma,” says Ron Vezina, vice president, public affairs.

He noted summer is already a difficult time for maintaining an ideal blood and plasma supply since many donors are out of their normal routines or on holidays. “We expected to see lower attendance in the summer months… but the extraordinary natural events across the country presented unpredicted challenges for folks from coast to coast.”

As unique circumstances continue to cause upheavals this summer, Canadian Blood Services is urging everyone who can, to donate blood or plasma to help boost supplies.

On average, every 60 seconds someone in Canada needs blood. Yet nearly 10,000 donation appointments need to be filled across Canada between now and Labour Day.

Over the last week, Canadian Blood Services had to cancel over 300 donation appointments in the Kelowna area as the community grappled with devastating wildfires.

“Our hearts go out to the communities that have been impacted by the disastrous events this summer,” said Vezina.”We’re asking folks across the country to help fill the gap. If you can safely visit a donor centre or a mobile event, please do so as soon as you can. Patients are counting on you.”

Since blood has a limited shelf life after collection, it can only be stored for up to 42 days. Vezina said it’s vital that the donations are continually collected without interruption.

“We’re asking everyone who can, to please donate blood or plasma” — and to help spread the word on social media, and by inviting others to join them in donating.

Follow Canadian Blood Services @CanadasLifeline. “Your support gives reassurance to the patients who rely on donated blood or plasma,” said Vezina.

To book an appointment, please download the GiveBlood app, visit, or call 1 888 2DONATE (1-888-236-6283).

Lana Michelin

About the Author: Lana Michelin

Lana Michelin has been a reporter for the Red Deer Advocate since moving to the city in 1991.
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