Give Blood: Anytime Good Time for Donation

NGAUS Washington Report

(Jan. 7, 2014) Col. Richard H. McBride, the director of the Armed Services Blood Program, wants service members to donate blood to help their fellow service members and their families.

Historically, blood supply levels shrink around the holidays. January has been declared National Blood Donor Month since 1970.

“January, just like the summer months, is a time when there is a decrease in the blood supply, primarily because people are preoccupied with the holidays,” McBride said. “This is a great time to encourage donors and keep them aware that we need donations 12 months a year, not just in the summer.”

“Right now we collect about 10,000 units per month, about 120,000 a year,” said McBride. “In peacetime, it can go as low as 90,000 [units] per year, but at the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom we were collecting about 150,000 to 160,000 a year.”

The Armed Services Blood Program has 21 blood centers in the United States and overseas. Blood donors must be 18 or older, in good health and free of any blood-borne infectious diseases. The armed services program accepts donations from service members, family members, DoD civilians, contractors and veterans.