With blood shortage at emergency levels, Southold FD hosts blood drive today

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, right, and Comptroller Joseph Kennedy donated blood Jan 28 at a blood donation center in Bohemia.

The New York Blood Center has issued an emergency blood appeal after the region lost approximately 3,000 pints of blood because of the blizzard last week.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has called on “every capable donor to come out and donate blood” to alleviate “the largest single shortage of blood donations since Superstorm Sandy because of donation center closings and blood drive cancellations.”

Bellone and Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy donated blood Jan. 28 at the N.Y. Blood Center donation center in Bohemia.

“Our blood supply relies exclusively on the generosity of volunteer blood donors,” according to New York Blood Center. “There is no substitute for human blood.”

Southold Fire Department is hosting a blood drive today from 2:15 to 8:15 p.m. at department headquarters, 55135 Main Road, Southold. Another blood drive is taking place on Sunday, Feb. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at St. Isidore’s School, 515 Marcy Avenue, Riverhead.

As an added incentive to donate tonight in Southold, Joe McCarthy will be cooking his “famous spaghetti dinner with all the fixin’s” for donors who give between 5 and 8 p.m. tonight.

“Please donate, the shortage is at a critical stage, especially for type O blood,” McCarthy said. “The recent blizzard known as Juno has caused a massive shortfall and only a one day supply is banked.”

Most people qualify as a volunteer donor, even if they are taking medications, according to New York Blood Center, which on average collects about 2,000 units of blood products daily and distributes lifesaving blood products to more than 20 million people in the greater New York metro region.

“Donating blood is a safe, simple, and satisfying experience,” New York Blood Center says. The whole process usually takes about 45-60 minutes.

Donors must be may at least 17 years old (16 years old with written consent from parent or legal guardian), weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in good health.