TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — DCH Health System asks the community to give blood as blood shortage continues.

Blood donors are needed, last week’s severe storms and tornadoes only escalated the need for more blood donors. DCH Health System has reached a critical level for type O blood and is approaching critical levels for other types.

Mark Deakle says DCH Health System is seeing an increase in blood usage for patient care. LifeSouth is the sole blood provider for the DCH Health System, therefore, we encourage donors to donate now. Deakle is the director of laboratory services for DCH.

“Typically, here at DCH we keep 55 units of O positive type of blood, just yesterday we were down to 17 units so that really impacts our ability to care for patients when we don’t have our normal amount of blood supply,” said Deakle.

All blood types are needed to ensure hospitals have the blood that is required to treat trauma cases, surgical procedures and patients needing blood transfusions on a daily basis. Donating blood is safe, takes about an hour and can save lives. Paige Howard from LifeSouth says the shortage in the blood supply is concerning.

“The current levels of one to two days supply of blood and we typically want it to be at a five-day supply. Five-day supply would meet the needs of those who need it for car wrecks, cancer patients so obviously one to two day supply is well below the five day so we are in a critical need of blood. We need people to donate,” Howard said.

Visit a LifeSouth donor center or bloodmobile. To find a location near you visit here or call 888-795-2707. Donors must be at least 17-years-old, or 16 with parental permission, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good health. A photo I.D. is required.