American Red Cross needs ‘heroes’

Published 2:19 pm Tuesday, June 27, 2023

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The American Red Cross wants everyone to enjoy a safe and fun Fourth of July, which includes ensuring a strong blood supply for patients in hospitals across the country. There has been a concerning shortfall in blood donations in recent weeks, and the upcoming holiday could put a further strain on donations, as millions celebrate with family vacations and other seasonal activities. Donors of all blood types, especially those with type B negative or O negative blood as well as platelet donors, are needed to make an appointment to give now to ensure blood remains available for patients this summer.

To encourage blood donations, the Red Cross is offering the following to those who come to give in the coming weeks:

  • All who come to give blood, platelets or plasma through June 30 will receive a $10 gift card by email to a merchant of their choice. Those who come to give in June will also be automatically entered for a chance to win a backyard theater package. Details for both offers can be found at
  • All who come to give blood, platelets or plasma July 1-11 will receive an exclusive Red Cross dry bag, while supplies last. Details are available at

By scheduling and keeping appointments right now, donors can help ensure patients relying on blood donations also get to enjoy their summer. To schedule an appointment to donate, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July

However people plan to celebrate Independence Day, the Red Cross has several tips to make sure they can do so safely.

Fireworks safety:

  • Skip fireworks at home. Attend a public show or celebrate with glow sticks or noise makers instead.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.
  • Light only one firework at a time, and never attempt to relight “a dud.”

Grill safety:

  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire.
  • Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  • Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to help keep the chef safe.
  • Wash your hands before preparing the food.
  • Don’t leave food out in the hot sun. Keep perishable foods in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs.

For additional tips, including water safety, beach safety and water park safety, visit

How to donate blood

To make an appointment, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.