ST. PETERSBURG – Residents in the Florida’s Panhandle are coping with the effects of severe flooding after two-days of heavy rains. An explosion Wednesday night that destroyed the Escambia County Jail in Pensacola has put a strain on local blood supplies.
Area hospitals currently have sufficient inventories of blood to treat patients, according to a press release from Oneblood, a not-for-profit blood center. However, help is needed to supplement supplies until conditions improve as many organizations have canceled blood drives due to flooding damage.
The blood center is asking people living in areas not impacted by the hazardous weather to please donate as soon as possible to help ensure the local supply remains strong in the Panhandle and throughout the state.
All blood types are needed, but people with Rh negative type blood are in the highest demand. In addition, platelets donors are also greatly needed.
Blood donations are needed daily to ensure blood is available to deal with planned and unplanned medical needs. Generally healthy people age 16 or older who weigh at least 110 pounds can donate blood. For more information, visit www.oneblood.org.
Escambia County officials say between 100 and 150 inmates and correctional officers were injured and taken to local hospitals. Two inmates were killed and three were missing as of Thursday afternoon. Officials later announced that all inmates had been located.
It is not yet known if the heavy rain and flooding was a factor.
Officials report that as many as 600 inmates were in the building at the time of the gas explosion at the jail’s central booking area, which caused a partial collapse of the building. A statement posted at myescambia.com Thursday morning said all female inmates were safe and had been transported to the Santa Rosa County Sherriff’s Detention Facility. Other uninjured inmates have been transferred to other facilities in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.