As the American Red Cross responds to wildfires and historic hurricanes, eligible donors are reminded that giving blood or platelets during National Preparedness Month in September helps ensure the Red Cross is prepared to respond to patient emergencies across the country.

Hurricane Irma has forced the cancellation of dozens of Red Cross blood drives in the Southeast, resulting in more than 2,100 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Natural disasters like hurricanes can disrupt blood drives and prevent donors from giving, but hospital patients still depend on lifesaving transfusions. Volunteer blood and platelet donors are the only source for blood products needed by hospital patients.

Individuals in parts of the country unaffected by Hurricane Irma are encouraged to give blood or platelets to help ensure a sufficient blood supply. All blood types are currently needed.

Appointments can be made by using the Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 800-733-2767. To help reduce wait times, donors are encouraged to make appointments and use RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questions online, on the day of their donation, from a computer or mobile device at

As a thank-you, those who come to donate blood or platelets through Sept. 30, 2017, will receive a coupon for a free haircut at participating Sport Clips locations. More information is available at

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

• 1 - 7 p.m., Sept. 19 at the American Legion Burlington, 162 Winn St.

• 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Sept. 20 at the Lahey Clinic, 41 Mall Road

• 1 - 7 p.m., Sept. 26 at the American Legion Burlington, 162 Winn St.