The American Red Cross supply of blood has reached an urgent level and residents are encouraged to give to help replenish the supply, the Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Blood Services Region said in a news release.

The American Red Cross supply of blood has reached an urgent level and residents are encouraged to give to help replenish the supply, the Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Blood Services Region said in a news release.

According to the Red Cross, there are 50,000 fewer pints of blood on supply than usual in June, leaving the agency with only half of the readily available blood as needed.

Locally, a blood drive will be held at the Pine Bluff Convention Center from 1 to 6 p.m. Friday. Although called the Battle of the Badges Blood Drive targeting law enforcement officers and firefighters, the blood drive is open to anyone who can give.

Donations of all types of blood are needed, especially type O negative, the universal blood type that may be used in an emergency for any patient, the agency said.

The Red Cross believes donations are down for several reasons such as people taking vacations earlier or sponsors being unavailable to host blood drives.

July 4th being in the middle of the week is also blamed on the lack of donations.

Every two seconds someone in the nation needs a blood transfusion, the Red Cross said, adding that blood and platelets are also needed for various reasons.

“Every day, the Red Cross must collect more than 17,000 pints of blood for patients at more than 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country,” Vincent Edwards, CEO of the American Red Cross Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Blood Services Region, said in the press release.

Edwards stated that the region must collect 400 pints of blood daily.

“Each pint of whole blood can help save more than one life,” he said.

At the convention center Friday from 1-6 p.m., Red Cross is hosting the Battle of the Badges Blood Drive. They are encouraging law enforcement and fire officials to donate, however the event is open to the public.

The blood donation process takes about one hour. Eligible donors should be in general good health, at least 17 years old and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds. Donors should have their blood donor card or a photo ID on hand. Donors who have given blood within the past 56 days won’t be allowed to donate at this time.

Donors will receive a free Rock and Roll Up Your Sleeves T-shirt as well as refreshments. Donors may also enter to win a Gibson guitar. Student donors 16-21 years old may enter to receive a $5,000 scholarship.

For information about donating blood locally, contact the Pine Bluff Donor Site at 1602 W. 42nd Ave., or call 536-6657. Statewide details: call 1-800-733-2767 or visit the website at redcrossblood.org.