FLORIDA -- Following the July 4th holiday last week, the American Red Cross announced an urgent call for blood donations.
The Red Cross said there were fewer blood donors and fewer blood drives because of the holiday, and more than 550 fewer drives were held last week.
OneBlood, which serves most of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina through more than 200 hospitals, said they aren't seeing a critical need for blood but are below what they'd like to have on the shelf. In particular, they're lowest on Type O and B Negative.
"We like to maintain a three to five-day supply to be prepared," said donor and community relations spokesperson Dan Eberts "Blood drives drop over the summer; we lose all the high school students and people are on vacation."
Eberts said hurricane season is also another reason to keep up the supply of blood and platelets are always a need because of their short shelf life.
"Blood donors are the 'first, first responders,'" he said. "The blood that's on the shelf gives second chances."
OneBlood has 80 donor centers and nearly 200 Big Red Buses throughout its service area.
Dozens of blood drives are scheduled for the next few weeks in Tampa Bay. Find out where you can donate on OneBlood's website.
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