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Canadian Blood Services struggling to keep up amid wildfires and flooding

Urgent plea for donations issued after summer filled with disasters from coast to coast
On average, someone in Canada needs blood every 60 seconds yet Canadian Blood Services had 10,000 donation appointments to fill during the final week of August. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)

With the worst wildfire season on record in B.C. and the country facing a number of other emergencies this summer, Canadian Blood Services is urging everyone who can, donate blood or plasma to help boost supplies.

While summer is usually a difficult time for maintaining ideal supplies, as donors are out of their normal routines and on vacation, Canadian Blood Services said this year’s situation has been complicated by events such as wildfires and flooding across the country.

“We expected to see lower attendance in the summer months … but the extraordinary natural events across the country presented unpredicted challenges for folks from coast to coast,” said Ron Vezina, vice president of public affairs, in a statement. “Between heat waves and forest fires, torrential rains and flash floods, communities are strained as people cope with the emergencies in front of them. Fewer people have been donating but despite these circumstances, patients continue to need vital donations of blood and plasma.”

For example, Canadian Blood Services had to cancel more than 300 donation appointments in the Kelowna area during a one-week period earlier in August.

While thinking of those in impacted communities, Vezina said Canadian Blood Services is hoping others will help fill the void.

“Canadians are always prepared to do the neighbourly thing and lend a helping hand and so we’re asking folks across the country to help fill the gap. If you can safely visit a donor centre or a mobile event, please do so as soon as you can. Patients are counting on you.”

On average, someone in Canada needs blood every 60 seconds yet there were nearly 10,000 donation appointments across the country that needed to be filled during the last week of August.

Causing other complications, blood does have a limited shelf life and donated blood can only be stored for up to 42 days, which Canadian Blood Services said makes it vital for collection to continue without interruption.

“We need this important ask of Canadians to reach as many people as quickly as possible and are asking for help in sharing our message,” Vezina added.

Same-day appointments are available at many locations. To learn more, visit or call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283).

ALSO READ: Saanich firefighters giving blood, joining West Kelowna wildfire battle

Black Press Media Staff

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