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How can blood donors help best in a crisis? – 3 things to remember

8/23/2017 16:15

Examples from around the world have shown us that the number of people wanting to give blood increases immediately after terror attacks.

Blood donors who monitor the blood supply situation and respond to invitations help to maintain ongoing preparedness, and there is almost never really a need for mass donations in a crisis. Check what a blood donor should remember in the event of a crisis.

In the event of a terror attack or major incident, many people understandably want to help by donating blood immediately. For blood services, however, these situations are challenging.
For example, in the days immediately following two terrorist attacks which took place earlier this year in Great Britain, donation points were swamped with people wanting to donate, which made the blood service’s work more difficult.  Blood services’ operations have also been hindered by large groups of people wanting to help in other similar situations, as dealing with so many people takes up lots of resources.

Read the instructions below on what to do in corresponding situations in Finland:


1. Turn blood donation into a long-term habit and a “hobby”

The Blood Service aims to collect blood steadily, from approximately 800 blood donors every weekday. Products made from donations in previous days are in stock and can be sent quickly in emergencies to the people who need them. A blood donor who donates blood today thereby helps us to prepare for accidents that occur the day after tomorrow. Every donation could be of crucial help in meeting a sudden demand for blood over the following days or weeks. Red blood cell products remain suitable for use for 5 weeks, and platelet products keep for 5 days. Regular and committed blood donors are the best guarantee for a good blood service.


2. Follow the need for your blood group on the Blood Service’s website and come to donate when you receive an invitation

It’s worth coming to donate blood on a day when the blood drop barometer depicts a need for your blood group, or if you have received an invitation by text message, e-mail, or phone call. After donating, women cannot donate blood again for 91 days, while men must wait 61 days before donating. If large numbers of people all come to donate blood at once, it may be difficult to find donors in coming weeks.


3. After a major incident or terror attack: prepare to donate blood if you are invited, follow the Blood Service’s updates on the website and on social media

It is important that people want to help others in life-threatening and sometimes dramatic situations. If an incident has weakened blood reserves, the Blood Service will invite donors in various ways to donate according to blood group.
Due to the Blood Service’s ongoing preparedness, there have been enough blood products to treat patients in hospitals, and to meet sudden demand caused by major incidents. Also after the knife attacks in Turku blood products were sent quickly to the location.

Whether or not a crisis is under way, it is well worth monitoring the blood situation on the Blood Service’s website at and on social media.