Australians outside of the national bushfire emergency areas are being urged to step forward and give blood after the Red Cross was forced to close several collection centres.
As fires burn across NSW and Queensland, the Red Cross has had to close donor centres at Taree, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie, as well as its pop-up centre at Byron Bay.
Blood Service spokeswoman Helen Walsh said the organisation was looking to the rest of the country to help fill the gaps and ensure blood supplies stay strong.
“Given the unpredictability of the fires, the reality is we’re unlikely to immediately know the full impact on donations until later in the week,” she said.
“We do know that we collect around 15 per cent of blood supplies for NSW in the areas where we have had to close our centres.
“In addition to the blood centre closures and with catastrophic fire warnings in place for much of the east coast, we are expecting to see an increase in donors needing to cancel their appointments at our Maitland, Newcastle and Gosford centres, at a minimum.”
Bushfires around Australia mean our centres in Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Taree and Byron Bay mobile donor centre are currently closed. Our thoughts are with our colleagues and the community affected by these fires. We’ll update you when we can re-open the affected centres. pic.twitter.com/f5oTyd8xj7
— Red Cross Blood Au (@redcrossbloodau) November 12, 2019
Ms Walsh said with blood being a critical resource, the organisation could not afford to take a “wait and watch” approach.
The Red Cross is calling for donors to “roll up their sleeves, now” to bolster blood stocks.
The Blood Service will continue to monitor the situation in Queensland, Ms Walsh said, and prioritise donor and staff safety.
Donors from NSW and Queensland make up over half of the nation’s blood supplies.