A big dip in donations over the Fourth of July holiday week has led the Red Cross to declare an “emergency blood shortage.” Laura McGuire is a spokesperson for the Red Cross in Iowa.

“What that means is donations are going out to hospital patients at a greater rate than they are coming in,” McGuire says. Nationwide, the Red Cross reports there were 15,000 fewer donations given than needed last week.

“The Fourth of July is really a struggle for us to find donors who are willing to donate, due to the fact that people are busy with the holiday and their vacation travels,” McGuire says. Eligible donors are urged to set up an appointment soon at red cross blood dot org (redcrossblood.org).

“There is a dropdown box that you’re able to enter your zip code and it will bring up all blood drives in the area,” McGuire says. Although all types of blood are wanted, McGuire says there’s a special need of type O blood donations. That’s the most in-demand blood type and often the first to be depleted from hospital shelves during a shortage.