Hospital employee loading blood shipment into blood bank storage units.


As stated in the Hospital Blood Services Agreement, the Transfusion Facility (“facility”) must furnish specific storage units, restricted to storage of blood and other biologicals, which are capable of maintaining required storage temperatures, as specified in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Standards of the AABB and these United Blood Services policies and procedures.

Temperature Monitoring of Approved Storage Units

Storage units approved for storage of blood or blood components at the facility must be equipped with a system that monitors continuously and records temperatures at least every 4 hours and with an alarm that sounds if temperature limits are reached.

The facility must notify United Blood Services within 24 hours of any occurrence of temperature deficiencies in the storage of blood and blood components and agrees not to return units subjected to temperatures outside the required ranges, unless approved for return by United Blood Services.

Documentation of storage temperatures may be required during inspections by regulatory agencies.

Requirements for Blood Storage Units

Component Storage Temperature
Whole Blood, Red Blood Cells 1-6C
Plasma, Cryoprecipitated AHF -18C or colder
Platelets 20-24C, with gentle agitation
Granulocytes 20-24C, without agitation

Additional Criteria for Storage and Handling

  • Blood component receipt temperature must be documented.
  • Blood and blood products must be stored in approved and labeled storage areas/units.
  • Store in an orderly fashion to prevent crowding and to allow air circulation.
  • Do not store quarantined components above other components.
  • Do not store reagents above blood components.
  • Do not overlap platelet bags during storage.
  • Store red cells to allow visual observation of hemolysis at the red cell interface.
  • Segregate autologous components from allogeneic components.
  • United Blood Services boldly labels autologous components with positive test results as Biohazardous and may ship such units in special Biohazardous shipping containers. Biohazard-labeled autologous components should be kept segregated from other non-biohazardous autologous components.
  • When released to another department, blood components must be maintained within appropriate storage temperatures or returned to proper storage within a specified time if storage is not available and the component is not transfused.

Storage Unit Failures

In the event of a storage unit failure, components must be moved to appropriate alternative storage. If alternative storage is not available with a temperature monitoring system that alarms for out of range temperatures, contact United Blood Services Hospital Services to discuss alternative storage at United Blood Services, the use of United Blood Services shipping containers as alternative storage or other suitable solutions.

Please follow the table below if using shipping containers as alternative storage.

Component Type Action
Red Blood Cells (RBCs)
  • Pack up to 12 RBCs per inner box in the CF-89
  • Re-ice at least once every 24 hours
  • Temperature must be maintained at 1-6C
  • Take temperature of shipper contents every 4 hours
  • Pack up to 10 apheresis platelets per E-38UB
  • Do not store off agitation for more than 30 hours
  • Temperature must be maintained at 20-24C
  • Take temperature of shipper contents every 4 hours
Frozen Components
  • Pack up to 20 frozen plasma OR up to 20 pooled Cryo OR
    up to 40 Cryo per CF-89
  • Fill box with dry ice
  • Inspect for thawing and reapply dry ice at least every 24 hours

Additional Assistance

Refer to Storage and Record Keeping Requirements for Transfusable Blood Components for valuable information regarding component temperature requirements, storage of blood components, identifying and documenting deviations, reporting requirements, and hospital inspections by the blood center. This presentation may be used for training new staff.


Blood Systems and its divisions and affiliates provide comprehensive transfusion medicine services. These include: BioCARE • Blood Services (Blood Centers of the Pacific, BloodSource, Bonfils Blood Center, Community Blood Services, Inland Northwest Blood Center, The Institute for Transfusion Medicine, Lifeblood, LifeShare, LifeStream, United Blood Services) • Blood Systems Laboratories • Blood Systems Research Institute • Creative Testing Solutions