NEW YORK: The American Red Cross leapt into action within half an
hour of the first airplane striking the World Trade Center towers,
communicating the urgent need for blood donors.
At the same time, the Red Cross Aviation Incident Response (AIR) Team
dispatched teams to New York, Boston, and Washington, DC to provide
crisis mental health counseling to victims, their families, and rescue
More than 50,000 blood donations were made available to the wounded in
New York and DC. Within hours, Red Cross volunteers had hit the streets
of New York to hang up fliers encouraging citizens to donate blood,
giving the address of the Red Cross website (redcross.org), and
providing a toll-free phone number (1-800-Give-Life) that connects
citizens with a local organization where blood can be given.
Tuesday evening, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson
urged television viewers to donate blood to the Red Cross. Many centers
extended their hours of operation, and sent extra blood bank vehicles
into the street to collect blood donations.
Red Cross spokespeople appeared on the constant stream of news and
morning talk shows such as the Today show and Good Morning America,
asking for blood donations. The spokespeople encouraged those who
couldn't give blood to call 1-800-HELP-NOW and make a monetary
The Red Cross used its website to provide information to the public,
including updated web postings, a search so that they could find the
nearest blood bank at which to donate, and also a family reunion
program, which connects family members of those affected by the disaster
and helps them find information about their loved ones.