How blood donations work on a local and national level - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

How blood donations work on a local and national level

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YAKIMA, WA - After the Las Vegas shooting, people from all over are trying to find ways to help the victims. One of those methods is through blood donation...but have you ever wondered how the distribution works in these tragedies or disasters?

Reporter Alexandra De Leon spoke with the American Red Cross. In times of tragedy, communities come together to help others and donate blood to the American Red Cross. The question many have, however, is how blood in other states can help those in need.

"We have a national blood bank that distributes the blood products that are needed to any disaster, whenever needed," said JayAnn Merkle, donor recruitment representative with the Red Cross.

Merkle explained the process of how blood donations work. When a person goes in to donate, blood is distributed to local needs first. Whatever is unused gets distributed to a national inventory.

For victims affected in Las Vegas recently...

"Over 450 units of blood were sent from the national blood bank to help out victims," Merkle said.

The Red Cross is urging people to donate even when there isn't necessarily a need.

     THE RED CROSS IS URGING PEOPLE TO DONATE, EVEN WHEN THERE ISN'T NECESSARILY A NEED.

"If you come in and donate you can actually help to save up to three lives," said Merkle, "which is an amazing factor."

Those who regularly donate know how much just one bag of blood can help to save lives. 

To register to donate, you can go online to redcross.org.

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