Emergency blood donations needed following Friday telecom outage

Puget Sound Blood Center issued an emergency appeal for blood donations after a multi-state telecom network outage Friday. The appeal ran over the weekend of Jan 25 and continues this week.

The outage shorted essential communications for blood centers to coordinate blood drives and in-house donations, creating an emergency shortage of supply. The Center needs to collect approximately 900 standard donations per day to maintain essential inventory, president and CEO James AuBuchon said.

"(We've) contacted other U.S. blood centers, but with such a widespread outage and severe winter storms in the easter U.S., the ability of other blood centers to respond is limited or uncertain," AuBuchon said.

The outage affected 40 states, with the greatest impact in and around Washington state. The Center requested western Washington hospitals minimize their use of blood for 48 hours, but expected to continue to meet critical needs.

The Center's Seattle Central and Bellevue telecom systems continued to function through the outage. Fax and cellular systems were used to coordinate orders from King County hospitals.

Blood center hours can be found online. Appointments can be scheduled online or by calling 1-800-398-7888.

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