Red Cross acts fast to communicate need for blood

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 (, 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.

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