FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Plastic bags for “double red cell” blood donations are in short supply for the Arkansas Blood Institute, according to a press release.

The non-profit is asking the community to give blood now. ABI supports blood supply inventory for patients in more than 40 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide, according to the press release.

Factors such as the lack of available plastic bags that are used to collect “double red cells,” the lack of donors and hospital blood usage are putting a strain on the future of Northwest Arkansas’ blood supply.

“Double red cell donations are a backbone of our collections, particularly with some of our most needed donors, like our O negatives,” said Dr. John Armitage, president and CEO of Arkansas Blood Institute. “When we don’t have the specialty bag sets we need to collect these units, we put our stewardship efforts and emergency response capabilities at risk.”

The blood center is facing many difficulties creating a troubling forecast. Without the double red cell donations, more donors are needed to make up for the productivity loss, according to the press release.

“Summer blood donation rates are always lower, but for us to now face a situation where we can have donors come to the drive and be unable to give their fullest and best gifts is both frustrating and disheartening,” Armitage said.

We’re fighting with a hand tied behind our back and our supply chain foul-ups aren’t likely to get better anytime soon. Broken manufacturing and delivery pipelines are never good, but in the blood world, they put lives and patient care at risk.

Armitage said.

You can make appointments by calling 877-340-8777 or visiting their website here. Blood donation typically takes only about an hour, and one donation saves up to three lives.

Photo identification is required. Donors can donate as young as 16 but must weigh 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission. Seventeen-year old’s must weigh 125 pounds and anyone over 18 must weigh at least 110 pounds.