As fires continue to burn across News South Wales and Queensland, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service has been forced to close its donor centres at Taree, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie, and the pop-up centre at Byron Bay.
Blood Service spokesperson Helen Walsh said they were looking to the rest of the country to help fill the gaps and ensure blood supplies stay strong.
“Given the unpredictability of the fires, the reality is we’re unlikely to immediately know the full impact on donations until later in the week. We do know that we collect around 15 per cent of blood supplies for New South Wales in the areas where we have had to close our centres.
“In addition to the blood centre closures and with catastrophic fire warnings in place for much of the east coast, we are expecting to see an increase in donors needing to cancel their appointments at our Maitland, Newcastle and Gosford centres at a minimum.
“With blood being a critical resource, we simply cannot afford to take a wait and watch approach and are calling for donors to please roll up their sleeves, now, in order to bolster the nation’s blood stocks.”
She said the Blood Service would continue to monitor the situation in Queensland and will be prioritising the safety of donors and staff.
“We know that conditions could remain as dangerous as they are today right through to the weekend and are asking people outside the fire zones to donate if eligible and to encourage family and friends to roll up their sleeves and donate,” Ms Walsh said.
New South Wales and Queensland make up over half of the nation’s blood supplies.
Appointments are available in unaffected areas. Call 13 14 95 or visit donateblood.com.au to find your nearest donor centre and book your appointment.
“Many people don’t realise the Blood Service is a truly national service with blood products shared around the country,” Ms Walsh said.
“So please, if you are eligible to donate, make an appointment at any blood donor centre in Australia and you will be helping maintain our stock levels in the face of these catastrophic fires.”
She said her thoughts were with Blood Service employees, donors and all those who are affected by the bushfires.
“We are doing everything we can to support our regional customers with the potential need for increased supplies and the transfer of supplies interstate,” she added.
For further information please contact:
National: Helen Walsh, 0449 908 667 NSW/ACT: Nicky Breen, 0424 456 652
SA/NT: Jen Salter, 0487 296 984 VIC/TAS: Erin Lagoudakis, 0439 396 397
Australian governments fully fund Red Cross for the provision of blood products and services to the Australian community. For more information or to make an appointment to give blood call 13 14 95 or visit www.donateblood.com.au