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An emergency blood shortage is prompting the American Red Cross to issue an urgent call for eligible donors of all blood types — especially type O — to give now and help save lives.

The Red Cross escalated its call for blood and platelet donors after a difficult Independence Day week for donations. Officials said the Red Cross could be down by as many as 15,000 donations.

“Each and every day, individuals across the country depend on blood and platelet donations for lifesaving treatments and emergency care, so it’s critical that people donate now to meet these needs,” says Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “Whether you’ve never donated or give a couple of times a year, you’re needed to give as soon as possible to help save patient lives. Yours may be the donation a patient is counting on.”

This need is especially critical for type O blood donors. Officials say Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations. Type O positive is the most common blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type.

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Red Cross Blood Donor app, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call (800) 733-2767.

The Red Cross has added about 6,500 additional appointment slots at donation centers and community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

Local blood donation centers are located at:

Allegany County

• Bolivar — July 10, 3 to 7 p.m., Bolivar Fire Department, 460 Main St.

• Canaseraga — July 24, 3 to 7 p.m., American Legion, 83 W. Main St.

• Cuba — July 12, 1 to 6 p.m., First Baptist Church, 17 South St.

• Houghton — July 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Houghton College, Gillette Hall, Genesee St and July 27, 2 to 7 p.m., Houghton Wesleyan Church, 9712 NY-19

• Rushford — July 24, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 8999 Main St.

• Wellsville — July 26, 2 to 6 p.m., YMCA-Wellsville, 133 Bolivar Road and July 27, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Wellsville Bible Church, 2896 Route 417.

Cattaraugus County

• Ellicottville — July 16, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., St Paul’s Lutheran Church, 6360 Route 242 East.

• Franklinville — July 20, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Franklinville Fire Hall, 75 N. Main St.

• Machias — July 24, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Pines Healthcare and Rehab Center, 9822 Route 16.

• Olean — July 9, noon to 5:30 p.m., Elks Lodge, 209 W. State St.; July 14, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 109 S. Barry St.; and July 26, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Cattaraugus County Building, 1 Leo Moss Drive.

• Randolph — July 25, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Randolph Fire Hall, 70 Main St.

• Salamanca — July 13, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Our Lady Peace-Holy Cross Church, 274 Broad St.

• West Valley — July 11, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., St Johns Church, 5381 Depot St.