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UPDATE: Critical need for blood, Blood Assurance asking community for donations

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Blood Assurance is extending its regular hours Tuesday to accept donations for the victims of the deadly bus crash on Talley Road Monday afternoon.

The organization is keeping its doors open until 7:00 p.m.

To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 18 years old (17 or 16 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids, avoiding caffeine, and eat a meal that is rich in protein prior to donating.

To find a location near you or make an appointment, call 1-800-962-0628 or click here.

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As Blood Assurance asked for donations to replenish their blood supply, Chattanoogans responded as they always do, packing the facility near the UTC campus.

Desperately needed are blood, platelets and especially Type O-negative blood, which is considered to be "universal" since it can be given to virtually any patient in need.

Lines for those willing to donate were outside the building about 7:00pm Monday night.

"We have seen an outpouring from the community," said Mindy Quinn, Blood Assurance. " Our centers are completely full, we are bringing in staff from all over and we need donors to not only come tonight, we're good for right now, but we need donors to think about coming in tomorrow, Wednesday , Friday and even next week because this need isn't going to go away quickly." 

Blood Assurance of Chattanooga is asking for the community to donate blood as soon as possible to replenish the blood supply due to the school bus crash. 

"We are fast passing 0- negative blood types. It's the universal donor so if you are an 0- negative donor, we are going to get you in first," said Quinn

Blood Assurance is calling on community members to make a blood donation at a local donor center or bloodmobile as soon as possible to help replenish the blood supply due to today’s trauma at 313 Talley Road involving a school bus accident. Blood Assurance is currently sending blood for the 23 children that were taken to hospitals that were on the Woodmore Elementary School bus 366 that was carrying students from the school when the accident happened and is in critical need for blood.

The organization is asking the community to please consider taking 30 minutes out of their day to make a donation that will help save lives during this tragic time and meet the needs of the children as well as additional area hospital patients. Blood Assurance thanks all donors who choose to give to those in need.

To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 18 years old (17 or 16 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids - avoiding caffeine - and eat a meal that is rich in protein prior to donating. For questions about donating blood, please call 800-962-0628. For more information on Blood Assurance, donating blood or hosting a blood drive, please visit www.bloodassurance.org

"If you are calling and you can't get through it's because we're so busy so keep calling back or you can go online if you go to Bloodassurance.org we have a donor portal there and you can schedule an appointment online," said Quinn. " it's heartwarming and it's devastating all at the same time but it's really incredible to see people just come running in to give." 

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