Emergency need for blood donations after winter weather

HUNTSVILLE Ala. -- The winter weather and closures last week, have left LifeSouth with an emergency need for blood donations. Because of the winter weather, most collections in Alabama were stopped on Tuesday and Wednesday. Now they are in an emergency shortage. LifeSouth District Community Development Coordinator, Eric Franchois, said they need donations of all blood types.

"Really urging all of our donors, our regular donors to come out. And even urging first-time donors who have been thinking about donating," Franchois said. "Now's a great time to donate.  Every time you donate you're able to save up to three lives in your community."

LifeSouth Community Blood Bank serves more than 100 hospitals. The only way they can get the blood to the hospitals is through donations.

"Unfortunately blood is one of those products that there's no alternatives, it can't be manufactured," Franchois said. "We rely solely on volunteers to meet the blood supply."

You can donate at donor centers, through mobile donations, or at one of the many blood drives they have. To donate you must be at least 17 years old, or 16 with parental permission. You also must weight at least 110 pounds and be in good health. If you're planning on donating bring your photo I.D. and eat and hydrate before giving blood. Franchois said to also consider becoming a regular blood donor.

"If you donated every eight weeks, that's six times a year," Franchois said. "And that's eighteen lives that you could be saving."

He said one in three people will need blood in their lifetime.

"Really the big key is, a couple of minutes of your time, really is gonna mean the lifetime to somebody else," Franchois said.