Workers with the American Red Cross say they typically see blood donations increase following a disaster.
Red Cross blood donations are down over the holidays.
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - If July's record heat wave made you think twice about leaving the house to donate blood, you're not alone. The American Red Cross reports the weather is one reason the nation's blood supply is at its lowest level in 15 years.
Monica Stoneking, communications director for the American Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Services Region says donations in this region are down about 10 percent from this point last year. Stoneking says people with good intentions to come out, just aren't making the trip.
Summer is already a slow time because people are away on vacation and the local local chapter's goal is receive 700 units a day.
Stoneking says the three-month strike against the Great Lakes Region by Red Cross members in the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 459 and Teamsters Local 580 also hurt blood donations.
These factors haven't helped the nation's supply, which was also hit hard by heat and severe storms; those caused the cancellations of blood drives.
At Michigan Blood, Vice President of Community Relations Jim Childress says heat has only had a small impact on turnout.
"Some of the blood drives have been a little bit smaller. But the bottom line is, here at Michigan Blood this summer, at this very moment, blood supply is just fine, all the hospitals have all the blood that they need."
Childress says their push to bring in people to donate at a big blood drive last week paid off; 2,500 people stopped in, which brought donations numbers back up to par.
Michigan Blood serves 39 hometown hospitals in the lower penisula.
Nationally, the American Red Cross reports there are half as many readily available blood products compared to this time last year, and if things don't improve, doctors may have to cancel elective surgeries.