MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — Hurricane Ian is still several days away from making landfall in the U.S., and local blood centers are hoping people in north Alabama donate blood before it is needed.

“We are really trying to ramp up our donations, especially in the next few days,” said Becky Cecil, a spokesperson for LifeSouth Community Blood Centers in Madison. “We want to make sure those hospitals have what they need before the hurricane hits.”

LifeSouth typically keeps blood donations local, as it supplies for hospitals in north Alabama. However, if blood is needed in another state after a disaster, it can utilize its network to help.

“When centers in Florida need blood or Georgia, we coordinate with each other to make sure all of LifeSouth, all of our hospitals that need blood is able to get blood to their patients,” Cecil said.

Keeping up the blood supply is important because it is a non-renewable resource.

“Blood is one thing that there is no substitute for,” Cecil said. “If it is not available, there’s not a second chance. You have to have that blood there for the patients who need it, and you know I think it’s something that people don’t think about.”

She said people tend to donate after a disaster strikes, rather than before. LifeSouth encourages people to donate before Hurricane Ian makes landfall, so it can be proactive.

“We want to make sure that those hospitals have what they need before the hurricane hits, and during,” Cecil said.

LifeSouth does offer gift cards for people who donate blood. You can find a list of requirements for donating here.