ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — The American Red Cross national blood supply levels are critically low, dropping nearly 25% since August. Now, they’re asking for members of the community to donate.

Representatives with The American Red Cross said they usually see a decline in donations this time of year, but the recent decrease in blood supply is in part due to recent natural disasters.

“The Red Cross nationwide has had five disasters kind of back to back,” American Red Cross Northwest Florida Executive Director Terri Jenkins said. “With Vermont, out in the west with fires, Maui, Idalia and Hurricane Hilary was a factor in causing many thousands of blood drives to be canceled. So we’re just appealing to the community if you’re eligible and willing to do that.” 

According to The American Red Cross, they supply 40% of the nation’s blood supply. A lack of available blood poses a threat for those who may need a transfusion, whether for an emergency or because of a critical medical condition. They say blood doesn’t have a very long shelf life. 

“It’s not days, 30 days and months to come,” Jenkins said. “Just as soon as we collect it, it’s going right back out to where the needs are in the community. It’s a very low shelf life, and that’s why we’re always needing to collect.”

Red Cross workers said donations out of Northwest Florida have been low. They’re trying to reverse that as they prepare for the next natural disaster. 

“We still have two and a half months left of hurricane season and throughout these next waves of natural disasters blood is going to be needed, so we ask that you help us have it on the shelf ahead of time,” Jenkins said.

The American Red Cross Pensacola chapter will be hosting its next blood drive Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 9111 Sturdevant St. They’re reminding people that one donating one unit of blood can save up to three lives.