The recent winter storm that blasted parts of Kansas brought proof of the need to drive with care.

Icy roads and dangerous driving conditions also served as a reminder of the importance of emergency services, and the potential toll on the regionís supply of blood.

Many critical services are taken for granted until theyíre needed. An adequate blood supply would be one such important, albeit often overlooked, lifesaver.

People in serious accidents often need blood transfusions. The demand usually soars when winter rolls around, and road conditions deteriorate.

Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood, according to the American Red Cross. They may be cancer patients, organ transplant recipients or someone injured in an accident.

During critical times of the year when accidents are more common, blood availability in the region that serves Kansas may dip to a half-day supply or below ó a situation that makes regular blood donations all the more vital.

Area blood drives are drawing near in Garden City and Scott City, scheduled from 2 to 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 6 and 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Garden City; and from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8, at the William Carpenter Building in Scott City.

Blood drives also are planned elsewhere in southwest Kansas. For details on places to donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or go online to

As always, thereís a need for donors of O-negative blood, the universal blood type that can go to any patient regardless of their type; O-negative may be used in emergencies when doctors cannot wait to type a patientís blood.

Millions of lives are saved each year by blood transfusions.†† †

Giving blood is safe and easy. Donors only need to be at least 17 years old, 110 pounds or more, in good health and willing to donate some time.

Itís easy to take the blood supply for granted until you or a loved one is in need. Giving just one hour of time to donate will help save lives during this critical time of year and beyond.