American Red Cross says donations down partly because of the flu

The American Red Cross says it is in urgent need of donations partly because the flu epidemic is causing a shortage in blood supply.

"The thought that I could save somebody's life," said Maryann Krupinski. She's donating blood through an American Red Cross blood drive at Westmont Fire Department in Haddon Township. She's done it before.

"It's easy. It's painless and you could save a life," she said.

Krupinski is one of a few dozen people who came out this evening for the drive from 2 to 7pm. The Red Cross says donations are down partly because of the flu. So many people are affected by it and can't donate so the blood supply is running low.

"Yeah because you think if you're contagious you don't want to pass germs onto somebody else," said Krupinski. I talked to a spokesperson for the Penn-Jersey American Red Cross which encompasses all of New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania. She told me over the phone that they've seen 1600 fewer donations over the last month in the area and they need 800 pints a day to meet demands. She says while winter weather has affected people's ability to get out and donate too the flu epidemic is also a significant factor.

"It's just been a lot of people very sick over the last two months," said Donald Richards. He's a 10-year firefighter and EMT with the Westmont Fire Department.

"We see so many accidents in our job that we know the need to have blood available for everybody and if it's down emergency rooms are going to have problems," he said. The Red Cross has on its website "donations urgently needed" and information on how to prevent the spread of the flu.

Richards hopes people who can donate will.

"A lot of people can't because of they take medications but people that are able really should get out there," he said.

For more information on donations, please click here.