CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Blood donations across the country are at critical levels.


What You Need To Know

Blood donations are low, making for the worst shortage in over a decade

A new national effort is working to fight this shortage

The Blood Emergency Readiness Team will have units on reserve in case of a natural disaster or critical-need emergency


For weeks, organizations like the Red Cross and The Blood Connection, a network of blood centers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, have been pleading to donate if you can.

The Red Cross calls this the worst blood shortage in more than a decade.

That blood becomes even more critical when a natural disaster happens, as we saw with the tornadoes that hit Kentucky.

This shortage could make it hard to help, but a new national initiative involving the Blood Connection is doing something about it.

They are now a part of the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps, a group of blood centers around the country who’ve joined together to ensure there’s enough blood in an emergency situation.

The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps says currently, most blood centers don’t have enough blood needed to respond to future natural disasters or other critical-need emergencies, like a large-scale car crash.

Katie Smithson, a representative with the Blood Connection, says pulling resources together is critical.

“I think it’s a vital resource,” she said. “And the thing about blood donation is that blood can’t be created, it can’t be manufactured in a lab, you can’t go grab extra unless it was donated."

Each blood center that’s a part of this team will have an on-call period. During this period, they’ll have 40 units of blood in a reserve, ready to be used.

Smithson says if those units aren’t needed after their on-call rotation, those units are returned to each blood center’s normal inventory.

To find a blood donation location in your area, click here.