By Ed Brock
Clayton County Fire Department Lt. David Hamilton plans to give blood at the department's blood drive today.
"And anybody I can drag to do it," Hamilton said.
From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the CCFD Headquarters at 7810 Ga. Highway 85 in Riverdale firefighters and civilians alike are invited to donate blood at a time when it's needed most.
"I'm even going to roll up my sleeve and give," said Amy Nix, the department spokeswoman.
If the drive is successful the department will hold drives twice a year, Nix said.
Blood supplies typically drop in the summertime, American Red Cross spokeswoman Cammie J. Barnes said. The Red Cross is holding several drives and events over the summer to meet the need, including the "Make It a Double" campaign.
"We're trying to encourage people to donate twice during the summer because that's one of our most critical times," Barnes said.
One of the main reasons for the drop in supplies is that school is out and school blood drives make up about 20 percent of the supply, Barnes said. Also, many people are away on vacation and also most companies don't hold blood drives on holiday weekends, such as Memorial Day weekend that occurred in late May.
As of Wednesday the supply of O negative blood in the Red Cross' southern region was the lowest with a .51 day, and the supply for all blood types was below the Red Cross standard of a three-day supply. In the southern region about 60 percent of the population is eligible to give blood, Barnes said, but only 3.5 percent of that population donates.
Hamilton, who is a paramedic and said he donates blood regularly, said that when HIV/AIDS began spreading many people became concerned that they might catch the disease by donating blood. He said the chances of catching the virus when donating blood are very low.
"Everything they use is sanitized," Hamilton said. "Once they use a sterile needle it has to be thrown away."
The Red Cross is holding several other blood drives and events in Clayton and Henry counties and in the Atlanta area.
During the Fourth of July weekend players with the Atlanta Braves will be hosting blood drives at malls around the city. On July 2 to 4 from noon to 5 p.m. they will be near the food court in Southlake Mall in Morrow. On July 2 and 3 they will be at the Red Cross donor center at 675 Southcrest Parkway, Suite 120 in Stockbridge, also from noon to 5 p.m.
Participants in the drive will receive an American Red Cross baseball cap and will be eligible to win Braves tickets.
Other drives coming up in Clayton and Henry are as follows.
Monday n Ballieu Room at New Testament Baptist Church in Ellenwood from 2 to 7 p.m.
Tuesday n Henry County Government Administration Building
140 Henry Parkway in McDonough from noon to 5 p.m.
June 18 n Henry Towne Center in McDonough off exit 221 on I-75 (in Bloodmobile) from noon to 6 p.m.
June 19 n Andrews Chapel UMC Education Building, lower level, 122 Watterson Street in Jonesboro from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
June 21 n Clayton Community First Baptist Church of Morrow,
1647 Lake Harbin Road in Morrow from 2 to 7 p.m. and at OSI
4221 International Parkway in north Clayton County from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.
June 23 n Clayton College & State University, Arts and Sciences Building, 5200 Lee Street in Morrow from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
June 26 n Greater Solid Rock Baptist Church Fellowship Hall,
6280 Camp Road in Riverdale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
June 30 n Henry County Water and Sewage Conference Room, 1695 Ga. Hwy. 20 West from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.