Military blood program Web site has new look

WASHINGTON (AFRNS) -- The Armed Services Blood Program Web site has been redesigned, offering updated content as well as a new look, officials said.

The new Web site,, features information on how to join a "Life Force" team of donors, volunteers and supporters with topics including blood facts, donor eligibility criteria, and donor center locations.

The ASBP collects blood only from servicemembers, government civilians, retirees and their family members. The U.S. military needs blood every day for critically injured troops, cancer patients, premature infants and other uses, said Navy Cmdr. Michael Libby, the director of the U.S. military's blood program.

Convenient links on the Web site direct users to online blood donation appointment scheduling via the "Click to Save Lives" drop button on the ASBP home page. Other information links access blood donor eligibility criteria and donation locations.

The new Web site "is very much improved. I think it was very professionally done. I was very impressed," said Margaret Tippy, the U.S. Army Medical Command's media relations officer. Located at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, U.S. MEDCOM is the executive agent for the military's blood donation program.

It is a little-known fact that about 20 percent of servicemembers donate blood, compared to less than 5 percent of the civilian populace, said Commander Libby during a Pentagon Channel interview in December.

Commander Libby said the program collected twice as much blood in 2006 than it did in 2001. That is possible, he said, because of the great generosity of the program's donors. The program manages 18 stateside blood donor centers and four overseas centers. Donors normally give about a pint of blood at a sitting.

Most people who are eligible to donate provide blood to the program, Commander Libby said. Only a small percentage may be restricted from doing so because of travel to certain countries or for taking certain medications. Specific information on these restrictions may be found on the program's Web site.

Blood is always needed, Commander Libby said, and blood products normally must be replenished about 42 days after being collected. Frozen blood can be stored for years.