Donating blood to help your community and in times of disaster - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Donating blood to help your community and in times of disaster

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YAKIMA, WA - In times of tragedy, communities come together to help others and donate blood to the American Red Cross. 

Just a week after the worst mass shooting in modern history many local communities are stepping up to donate. But one question many had was how was their blood in another state going to help those in need.

JayAnn Merkle who's a Donar Recruitment Representative for the Red Cross says, "We have a national blood bank that distributes the blood products that are needed to any disaster, whenever needed."

She says when a person goes to donate, blood is distributed to local needs first. Then, whatever is unused gets distributed to a national inventory. Most recently, to Las Vegas. 

"Over 450 units of blood were sent from the National Blood Bank to help the victims," Merkle told us. 

However, The Red Cross is urging people to donate, even when there isn't necessarily a need. The Red Cross' purpose is to help provide relief to victims of disasters and help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. 

One in 25 families are helped each year by the American Red Cross.

"You just never know when you or someone that you love is going to be in need of blood products," Merkle says, "If you come in and donate you can actually help to save up to three lives, which is an amazing factor."

To donate in Washington, a person must be at least 16-years-old and fit the current weight and height criteria. After a short health history evaluation, a person donates one pint of blood during a donation. The entire process takes about 45 minutes.

Anyone who is eligible can go to their local donation center to register, or click here