SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – The American Red Cross of Utah is encouraging Utahns to donate blood after a winter storm slammed much of the United States. The Red Cross said the storm caused hundreds of blood drives to be canceled, leaving more than 6,500 donations uncollected.

According to Salt Lake City-based Divisional Chief Medical Officer for the Pacific, Rocky Mountain, and Southwest Divisions of the American Red Cross Dr. Walter Kelley, blood is needed to respond to patient emergencies about every two seconds in the United States.

The Red Cross reportedly must collect about 12,500 blood and nearly 3,000 platelet donations for patients who are undergoing medical procedures and treatments nationwide.

“The severe winter weather is coming a time of the year when the holidays and travel obligations already caused a slowdown in donations,” said Officer of the American Red Cross Utah/Nevada Region Heidi Ruster. “Utahns – especially those with type O blood – are urged to give blood now. The Red Cross depends on generous volunteer blood donors every day to provide lifesaving blood for those in need.”

According to the Red Cross, all blood types are needed, but especially those with the universal Type O negative. Utah Red Cross said Type O negative is what emergency room personnel reach for in the most serious situations when there is not time to determine a patient’s blood type. Type O positive blood can be transfused to any positive blood type patient and is also critical in emergency situations.

Utahns who wish to donate blood can schedule an appointment through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or online at the Red Cross website. Appointments can also be made by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.