With influenza escalating across the country and preventing some donors from giving blood, and winter weather threatening to cancel blood drives, the Red Cross says it now has a critical shortage of type O blood and urgently needs donors to restock the shelves.

Ridgefielders who want to help give blood will have two opportunities to donate during February.

The first blood drive will be held at the Park and Recreation Center, at 195 Danbury Road, on Thursday, Feb. 13, from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The second will be held at Ridgefield Supply, at 29 Prospect Street, between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15.

Currently, the Red Cross has less than a three-day supply of type O blood available for patient emergencies and medical treatments. Type O positive blood is the most transfused blood type and can be given to Rh-positive patients of any blood type. While just 7% of the U.S. population has type O negative blood, it can be transfused to patients with any blood type and is what hospital staff reach for during emergencies when there isn’t time to determine a patient’s blood type.

Donors of all blood types — especially types O positive and O negative — are urged to make an appointment to give blood or platelets using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).