According to The American red Cross:

• Every two seconds someone in the United States needs a blood donation, which amounts to about 36,000 units of red blood cells daily throughout the nation, with Type O being the most requested blood type by hospitals.

• The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.

• More than 1.68 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2016. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.

• A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.

• There are about 6.8 million blood donors each year in the United States.

• An estimated 38 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, but less than 10 of them actually donate.

• The average adult has about 10 pints of blood in his or her body, and about one pint is given during the donation process.

• A healthy donor can give red blood cells every 56 days.

• Half of Red Cross donors are male and half are female.

• Before blood can be released to hospitals, all blood that is donated has to be tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and other infectious diseases before it can be released to hospitals.With summer in full swing, the need for blood donors is more urgent than ever, according to the American Red Cross.

An emergency call for blood and platelets has been issued by the Red Cross as a result of what it says is an "extremely low summer blood supply."

The Red Cross said in a statement Tuesday that in recent months, blood and platelets are being sent to medical facilities faster than donations are being received. As a result, there's about 39,000 fewer donations than what hospitals in the region need to accommodate patients.

The Red Cross says their overall blood supply is down nationwide and the recent July 4 holiday exacerbated the situation, since many "regular" blood donors have been on vacation and unable to donate.

"A recent Red Cross poll revealed that more than 75 percent of donors surveyed indicated vacation plans this summer, many of them occurring the weeks before and after July 4," the organization said in a statement.

Beth Toll of the Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region, said the need for blood and platelets right now is urgent.

“Donations are urgently needed now to meet the needs of hospital patients in the coming days and weeks," she said. "If you’ve thought about giving blood and helping to save lives, now is the time to do it. It’s the blood donations on the shelves that help save lives when an emergency occurs.”

Every two seconds in the United States, the Red Cross says, blood and platelets are needed for patient emergencies such as accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant procedures, as well as patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.

"The Red Cross must collect approximately 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide," the organization said in a statement.

According to the American Red Cross, the blood collection process is safe and consists of four steps: screening/donation, processing, testing, storage and finally, distribution. For donors, there are also four steps: registration, medical history and mini-physical, donation and refreshments. The entire process, including the physical, takes just over an hour but the actual blood donation only takes about 15 minutes, the ARC says.

The Red Cross said it supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood supply, which equates to approximately 2,600 hospitals across the U.S.

In addition, the Red Cross says a single donation can potentially help more than one person, since one pint of donated blood from an individual can yield red cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate.

To donate: to schedule an appointment, potential donors can use the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at toniann.antonelli@townsquaremedia.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.

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