During the past few days, the threat of war has increased local blood donations by as much as 25 percent, said Maureen Madinabeitia, associate director of operations in donor resources for the Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region of the American Red Cross.
Since Jan. 1, the Department of Defense has requested that the local region of the Red Cross contribute 100 units of blood weekly to the troops in Saudi Arabia. The contributions are part of a nationwide drive to collect 1,000 units a week for the troops.
The Persian Gulf crisis marks the first time since World War II that the American Red Cross has been asked to collect blood for the military. During the wars in Vietnam and Korea, the military supplied its own blood.
Recalling Baltimoreans' extraordinary response to the fatal Amtrak disaster in 1987, Madinabeitia said she expected an even larger increase in blood donations in the event of
war. Many businesses in the metropolitan area have inquired about beginning regular bloodmobile services for their employees, she said.
The Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region tries to collect roughly 1,500 units a day to meet the needs of 80 hospitals in an area extending north to York, Pa., west to Frederick, south to Fredericksburg, Va., and east to the Eastern Shore. In winter, however, daily collections often drop to 1,000 units weekly.
Potential donors should call 764-4619 to fix appointments be
cause centers operate on different part-time schedules. Blood donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health.
People who have signed up for bloodmobile donations should not give blood before the assigned collection dates, says local Red Cross spokeswoman Linda Klein. Fresh blood donations do not last longer than 42 days, she explains, and people are not permitted to donate blood more frequently than every eight weeks.
Red Cross blood collection centers
Red Cross Headquarters, 4700 Mount Hope Drive, Baltimore 21215. 764-4619.
Open: 1 to 8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Columbia Donor Center, 10 Corporate Center, Suite G-4, Columbia 21044. 997-1288. Open: 1 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Fallston Donor Center, 2112 Belair Road, Suite 4-C, Fallston 21047. 877-7609. Open: 1 to 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Glen Burnie Donor Center, 30 Greenway Ave., N.W., #4, Glen Burnie 21061, 768-4461. Open: 1 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Towson/Lutherville Donor Center, 1206 York Road, Suite 101, Lutherville 21093. 583-9756. Open: 1 to 8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
White Marsh Donor Center, 8114 Sandpiper Circle, Suite 111, White Marsh 21236. 256-1604. Open: 1 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and noon to 8 p.m. Friday.