An emergency blood shortage is prompting the American Red Cross to issue an urgent call for eligible donors of all blood types \u2013 especially type O \u2013 to give now and help save lives. The Red Cross escalated its call for blood and platelet donors after a difficult Independence Day week for donations. More than 550 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups last week than during a typical week as individuals across the country celebrated the holiday and enjoyed summer activities. This could equate to as many as 15,000 fewer donations than needed, causing donations to now be distributed to hospitals faster than they come in. \u201cEach and every day, individuals across the country depend on blood and platelet donations for lifesaving treatments and emergency care, so it\u2019s critical that people donate now to meet these needs,\u201d said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. \u201cWhether you\u2019ve never donated or give a couple of times a year, you\u2019re needed to give as soon as possible to help save patient lives. Yours may be the donation a patient is counting on.\u201d Type O is the most in-demand blood type and often the first to be depleted from hospital shelves during a shortage. Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations. Type O positive is the most common blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type. To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). The Red Cross has added about 6,500 additional appointment slots at donation centers and community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate. Upcoming area blood donation opportunities are: Bridgeport \u2014 July 9, Burroughs Community Center Fairfield \u2014 July 10, Fairfield Police Dept.; July 11, Gaelic American Club; July 19, St. Thomas Aquinas; July 26, Ludlowe Center for Health & Rehabilitation Monroe \u2014 July 19, Dunkin Donuts, 135 Main Street Shelton \u2014 July 13, R.D. Scinto Towers, July 27, Shelton Community Center Stratford \u2014 July 25, Ryders Partners, 88 Ryders Lane Trumbull \u2014 July 18, Middlebrook Farms of Trumbull; July 26, St. Joseph\u2019s Center.