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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
For many the summer means vacations and a much needed scheduling change, but with the break also comes a shortage of blood.
During the summer months June, July, and August in particular, blood donations decrease significantly and often blood shortage can reach critical and emergency levels.
"It's dreadful, summer is when we don't have blood, it's scary," said Melinda Hinds, LifeSouth District Community Development Coordinator. "When we get to emergency need, we have zero day supply, which means we are living by the moment."
Not only are donations down, the need for blood is up during the hot season.
"More people are on the highways and we have very important holidays throughout the summer," Hinds said. "We have one coming up this weekend, and people are out and about and the more people are out the more accidents we have and of course the need for blood in our local hospitals goes up."
Just to put the blood need in perspective, experts say one out of every seven patients that enter the hospital today, is going to need a blood product of some kind. Break it down even more, every two to three seconds someone here locally needs blood.
"Right here in Alabama, within a minute a gallon of blood is already used in our hospitals here so I mean it's pretty amazing and you know we can do something about it," Hinds said.
"That takes up 20 minutes, you can do that on your lunch break, you can bring a friend," said Melissa Mease.
Officials say you are all it takes to make a difference. Just one blood donation can save up to three lives.
According to the American Red Cross, if just two more people donate at every drive it would help ensure blood is available for patients all summer long.
For LifeSouth, which needs more than 500 units every week to supply all the Montgomery and the surrounding area hospitals, every donation helps.
"It's a really easy way that you can help a lot of people," Mease said.
"You are helping someone else keep living and one day you are going to need something and someone to help," said Betty Starks-Smith.
So perhaps before hitting the water and enjoying the sun, make a stop at a local blood drive and change a life for the better.