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Blood Stocks Need To Be Replenished After Hurricane Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Hurricane Sandy had an effect on the region's blood supply.

New York Blood Center (NYBC), serving more than 20 million people in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, is asking for post-hurricane emergency blood donations.

Though hospital needs were met, and heroic donors found the NYBC facilities that were able to remain open, the unprecedented disruption depleted the blood supply to the point where a significant recovery effort is necessary.

Rob Purvis, vice president at the New York Blood Center, visited The Couch to talk about the urgency of the need.

"When the storm came through, even leading up to it, we had cancellations of about 6,000 units of blood. Normally we collect about 2,000 units a day," Purvis said. "Now we're looking at really needing to build that back up, especially as we head into the holiday season."

As Purvis explained, people are busy and distracted during the holidays - meaning it's harder for folks to find time to donate.

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"Nobody really thinks about blood, they just expect it to be there when they need it," he said. "It's important to have the level [of blood] at the right point. Blood is a perishable's got a shelf life just like milk."

11.6 Robert Purvis of the New York Blood Center
Robert Purvis of the New York Blood Center (credit: Katie Wiggin/WLNY)

In the wake of Sandy, however, Purvis said the response has been fantastic.

"Last week, we had limited operations going on and we had lines like crazy. People that didn't have power, people that were dealing with their own personal problems, were still coming out to help."

If you do decide to donate blood, you may have to wait on a line.

"It might take a little longer, because people are responding in an unbelievable manner," Purvis said.

Another way to help is to consider hosing a blood drive at your company or congregation.

For more information, visit or call 1-800-933-2566. For the full interview, check out the video below.

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