FARMINGTON, Conn. - The American Red Cross has a critical shortage of type O blood and urges eligible donors to give now to help patients facing trauma and other life-threatening situations.

Right now, the Red Cross has less than a two-day supply of type O blood available for emergency rooms, where it can be most critical. That means just six units of type O blood are available for every 100,000 people, but at least 14 are needed every day. While just 7 percent of the U.S. population has type O negative blood, it can be transfused to patients with any blood type and is what hospital staff reach for during emergencies when there isn’t time to determine a patient’s blood type. Type O positive blood is the most transfused blood type and is also critical in trauma situations.

The Red Cross collected approximately 11,500 fewer type O blood donations than needed to sustain a sufficient blood supply. Spring break schedules are known to decrease blood donations, and schools, including high schools and colleges, begin to host fewer blood drives in late spring as school years end. Because these drives account for about 20 percent of blood donations during the school year, less drives can also greatly affect the blood supply.

Upcoming local blood drives

Aug. 23

Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, 365 Montauk Ave. in New London, noon to 5 p.m.

Crystal Mall, 850 Hartford Turnpike in Waterford, 1 to 6 p.m.

Aug. 26

Temple Emanu-el, 29 Dayton Rd. in Waterford, 1 to 6 p.m.

Aug. 27

Hugo A. Simonelli VFW Post 3263, 60 Stonington Rd. in Mystic, 12:30 to 6:15 p.m.

Aug. 28

Niantic Community Church, 170 Pennsylvania Ave. in Niantic, 12:45 to 6 p.m.

Aug. 30

Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, 365 Montauk Ave. in New London, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sept. 4

Hilton Garden Inn, 224 Gold Star Hwy. in Groton, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sept. 5

Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson, 951 Bank St. in New London, 12:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Sept. 6

Waterford Town Hall, 15 Rope Ferry Rd. in Waterford, 12:30 to 6:15 p.m.

Sept. 13

Hoxie Firehouse, 34 Broadway Ave. in Mystic, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Connecticut Media Group