Local blood centers address national need for disaster relief

How do natural disasters impact the blood supply?
Published: Oct. 17, 2020 at 3:48 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - When you donate blood at Vitalant in Rapid City, it doesn’t only help people locally. It can also help those in different states.

Blood donations are always crucial, but what happens when you add a pandemic to the mix, along with natural disasters.

“It really increased our need to collect blood products because here at Vitalant in Rapid City, we send products out to affected regions where there have been natural disasters. So we’re exporting products wherever they need the extra assistance right now,” says the donor recruitment representative for Vitalant, Molly Barari.

Barari says hundreds of blood drives have been canceled in the areas affected by the wildfires and hurricanes.

“People aren’t able to make it out to the blood centers in those areas because they’re either dealing with the disasters. Or they might need the blood products themselves because they have been injured in those disasters,” says Barari.

If you’re interested in donating blood, you can visit, and from there, you can find out more information about the process and how to make an appointment.

For new blood donors, they should plan on being there for an hour and for returning donors, about half an hour, but the process of donating will only take about 10 minutes.

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