The supply of type O negative blood at the American Red Cross has dropped to critically low levels, according to a press release from the organization.

Type O negative blood is always in high demand because it can be transfused to patients with any blood type, especially in emergency situations. Type O negative donors are needed now to help prevent the type O negative blood supply from declining further.

“The American Red Cross is reaching out to eligible blood donors, sponsors and community leaders to ask them to help recruit type O negative blood donations to help meet the needs of patients in our community,” said Donna Morrissey, spokesperson for the American Red Cross Blood Services — Northeast Division, in a press release.

While all blood types are needed during the summer months, the Red Cross urges those eligible donors with O negative blood type to make and keep appointments in the upcoming weeks to help restore the blood supply.

A shortage of type O negative blood often occurs during the summer months when fewer donors are giving because of summer vacations and schools approaching summer break are hosting fewer drives.

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. The Red Cross Northern New England Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to 80 hospitals and must have more than 500 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand.

Accident victims, as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source.

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission Maine), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to give blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.

Eligible blood donors are asked to please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to find a blood drive and to make an appointment.