When the terrorist attacks of 9/11 happened, many Americans rushed to donate blood.
The Community Blood Center of Kansas City, which also covers Northwest Missouri, had so much blood it planned to send many units to New York. Unfortunately, those units weren’t needed as not many victims were found alive.
In memory of 9/11, the CBC hosted several blood drives in around the area this week. Despite the renewed a major incident would “wipe us out” according to the group’s Community Outreach Coordinator Chelsey Smith.
“We’re well below a seven-day inventory of all of our blood types,” Smith said. “When we struggle like this blood isn’t readily available if, God forbid, there was a mass pileup on the highway.”
She said the danger isn’t just limited to massive events. If the situation gets any worse, it could start impacting everyday needs.
“We need to build up our cushion that keeps our patients in the hospitals comfortable,” Smith said.
Roughly 500 units of blood were collected during the 9/11 memorial drives.
One unit is usually one donation, but that’s still short of what is needed.
Smith said the fall is usually the toughest season to drum up donations.
“The situation is dire, it’s reaching very critical levels,” she said. “We’re not getting the level of response that we need.”
More drives will be hosted in high schools in October, but it may take a response like the one the community pulled off on 9/11 to get levels back to normal.
“Sept. 12 (2001) was a monumental day for the blood industry, and that was great,” Smith said. “We also want to make it a natural inclination every single day.”
“In this interim we desperately need donors,” Smith said. “If you’re available to donate, please consider it a civil duty, because that’s what it is.”
To find a blood drive, go to savealifenow.org.
NOTE: A previous version of this story said the CBC could only fulfill "stat" orders from hospitals. In a later statement, Smith said the CBC can still fulfill all standing orders.