Donating blood is a selfless act. Perhaps because donating blood is often a simple, relatively quick process, donors may be inclined to downplay just how big a deal it is to donate blood.  But blood donors save lives every day.
According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. The Government of Canada reports that 52 percent of people in Canada say they or a family member have needed blood or blood products at some point in their lives. To understand just how vital blood donors are, consider that, according to the Red Cross, a single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood. 
Many people give blood in response to tragedies like natural disasters, but prospective donors don’t need a special reason to donate. In fact, people who regularly donate blood help to ensure that supply meets demand. 
Donating blood for the first time can be a unique experience. The Red Cross offers the following information about what first-time donors can expect when they arrive at donation centers.

Registration
Donors will have to register before they can donate blood. Upon arriving at a donation center, donors will have to sign in and show some form of identification, such as a valid driver’s license. Donors also will be given some information to read before they can continue the process.

Medical history
Donors will be asked some questions about their medical history. These questions may be answered online or in a private conversation. In addition, donors will submit to a general health check to ensure they’re fit to give blood.

The donation process
The Red Cross notes that donations typically take between eight and 10 minutes. Donors will sit comfortably as a pint of blood is withdrawn.

The recovery process
The recovery process also is brief. After blood has been withdrawn, donors will be offered a snack and a drink. This recovery time typically lasts between 10 and 15 minutes. After that time is up, donors can resume their days.

Testing
The work continues after donors leave the donation center. Donated blood will be tested and sent to a patient in need, potentially saving a life. And all it took was about an hour of a donor’s time.
Blood donors quietly save lives every day. Learn more about blood donations and how to donate at www.redcrossblood.org and canada.ca.