LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– Blood banks in Southern Nevada and across the nation are in dire need of blood donations.

At the Red Cross of Southern Nevada, the donated bags of blood on the shelves are a bit of a relief, albeit temporary.

Rachel Flanigan, executive director of the Red Cross of Southern Nevada, said blood cannot sit on the shelf for more than 55 days. Her fear is seeing the shelves empty.

“We saw a decline over the summer, people traveling, everybody getting back to school and doing the things they need to do,” said Flanigan.

Of the 60 percent of the population eligible to donate, she said only three percent do.

Blood is used in nearly every department of hospitals, from trauma patients to surgeries and cancer treatment.

Long-time donor and hospital nurse Nicole Bai said her first-hand experience pushed her to donate blood every eight weeks.

“There are days where we have to wait several hours or days just to get them the blood that they need,” said Bai.

Donating is a simple process, but there are some restrictions standing in the way for potential donors.

The Red Cross’s website lists sexual identity, getting a tattoo in the past three months, particular diseases, and certain travel outside the U.S. as limiting factors.

More incentives have been offered to get people to donate, like gift cards and t-shirts. No matter if one is a first-time donor or a regular.

Other organizations throughout the valley have been experiencing blood shortages aswell. Vitalant, a nonprofit that supplies blood to hospitals across the U.S. is in the midst of a major shortage.

A spokesperson for Vitalant told 8 News Now:

Vitalant’s blood supply has dropped by nearly 50% since the start of summer, creating an emergency shortage. Donors of all blood types are needed to end this blood emergency, especially type O. Type O blood is the most transfused as nearly half of the population has type O. It’s crucial that every available donor do their part to fill the thousands of appointments over the next weeks to avert delays for patients who will need blood. Hospital demand for blood remains strong, depleting the supply. In fact, Vitalant is sending blood to about 900 hospitals nationwide more quickly than donations are coming in.

Vitalant has two upcoming blood donation drives in the Las Vegas Valley.

  • Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24 and 25 at the JW Marriott, located at 221 N Rampart Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89145.
  • Saturday, Oct, 1 at City National Arena in Downtown Summerlin.

A blood drive and donation event is scheduled for October 5 at Remedy’s from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on October 12 at Distill from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.