Long Island is down to a two-day supply of blood because the weekend storm forced the cancellation of numerous blood drives.
“Our knees were wobbly as we were exiting the summer and the storm just became the knockout punch,” for supplies, Harvey Schaffler of the New York Blood Center said.
All collection operations were canceled Sunday on Long Island, Schaffler said - several others had been canceled Saturday.
Still others were canceled Monday because of continuing power outages, he said, including one at Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington Station, and several churches.
“A number of organizations are not up to speed; even if they’re willing, they’re not able to,” Schaffler, executive director for donor marketing, said.
Schaffler said that police departments are big contributors to blood drives, but with extra duties brought about by the storm they have been unable to sponsor drives.
And he said that “Nothing is scheduled with National Grid. They’re very strong supporters but fortunately there was nothing scheduled this week,” because the utility workers are too busy with the storm’s aftereffects.
“Power’s our enemy, or lack thereof,” he said.
Schaffler said that his organization’s donor centers are all operational this week, though not all are open every day. In addition to taking donations of blood, the centers collect special products such as platelets, with a short shelf life of five days. He said the group’s Westbury center handles platelets and that thanks to backup generators in the storm, “Nothing was lost. There was no loss of anything already in our possession.”
But, he said, “When you lose a day like yesterday you can’t make it up.”
People wanting to donate can call 1-800-933-2566 or visit The New York Blood Center website.