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Calls up at local blood banks after Las Vegas shooting

Aurora Beacon-News

The mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday night has people contacting local blood banks looking to help.

Interest in blood donations was way up Monday, said Amy Smith, director of donor recruitment at Heartland Blood Centers, with calls to the center "at least 50 percent higher than usual."

"We have not had people donating yet, but there are going to be a lot of appointments and people will continue to contact us in the days ahead," Smith said.

Smith said she was working to mobilize a team Monday morning within a half hour of waking up.

"I woke up at 5:30 in the morning and saw the news, and we began mobilizing a team right away," she said. "After things like the Pulse shooting at the night club last year in Florida, the country really stepped up and we've seen that with Hurricanes Irma and Harvey as well. By 6 a.m. we had pulled things together and had our scripting succinct with our social media and website as well as the messaging we do to our donors each day."

Smith said that as of late Monday afternoon, there has not been a call for blood from Las Vegas, but that "Heartland stands ready to do so."

"The issue when something like this happens is that the blood being used right now is from the shelves, and for any new collection, it takes three days of testing before any blood can be shipped," Smith said. "We are part of a national resource team and right now the need is to replace what's being used."

Smith said she has worked for Heartland for 20 years and knows from experience the blood needs in a disaster such as the Las Vegas shooting can be massive.

"Everyone has from 10 to 12 pints of blood in his body, and every gunshot wound, regardless of how serious, is going to require blood," she said. "We've seen in transplant cases or gunshot wounds people requiring as many as 48 to 50 pints of blood. Whether someone needs one or 100 units, there's going to be a huge depletion of resources."

David Sharos is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.

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