ANMC Trauma team brings “Stop the Bleed” trainings to rural Alaska communities

February 24, 2020

Photo above: Stop the Bleed training attendees at Maniilaq Health Center in Kotzebue practice packing a wound.

Bleeding is the leading cause of preventable death after injury. In an emergency, someone can bleed to death in as little as three minutes with no intervention. In rural Alaska, the reality of this hits hard, as the isolated locations and lack of medically trained first responders can be a big factor. In many rural Alaska communities, first responders are often your friends and family.

So, in an effort to save lives and improve survival rates after injury, the ANMC Trauma department is taking the “Stop the Bleed” training courses to our Tribal partners in rural communities.

In 2015, the White House launched the Stop the Bleed campaign in direct response to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. The initiative hopes to save lives by empowering the public to respond to and stop life-threatening bleeding after unintentional injury, acts of violence, or natural disasters.

Alaska Trauma Registry data show rural communities have a high occurrence of injuries. Rural areas may not have access to comprehensive medical care, but Stop the Bleed training can be a lifesaving intervention to ensure a patient is properly stabilized before they are transported for care.

“When people know how to correctly pack wounds, apply a tourniquet and stabilize a severely injured patient, we are much more likely to receive a viable patient whose life can be saved,” said Angeline Washington, ANMC Trauma Nurse Director and Stop the Bleed instructor.

The ANMC Trauma department received a grant from the State of Alaska to travel to 14 Alaska communities: Bethel, Copper River, Cordova, Dillingham, Dutch Harbor, Fairbanks, Kenai, Kodiak, Kotzebue, Metlakatla-Annette Island, Nome, Sitka, Utqiagvik and Wrangell.

Training includes a brief presentation, but is mostly hands-on practice that any community member can perform. The trainer teaches attendees how to apply a tourniquet and how to pack a wound using practice limbs, in order to stop life-threatening bleeding before medical attention arrives.

The goal of the rural training classes is to train the trainers at each of the 14 hub Tribal health organization communities. Having an instructor/trainer in each region to teach the Stop the Bleed course increases the number of community members trained and available to assist in case of an emergency.

Anyone in these communities is welcome to attend the trainings. Each location is also provided with a Stop the Bleed wall-mounted public access kit, which includes a tourniquet and permanent marker for marking the time of placement, emergency trauma dressing, compression gauze, nitrate gloves, trauma shears, survival blanket, an instruction card and a bleed control patch.

Stop the Bleed training courses are held monthly at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. If you are interested in signing up for a class in Anchorage, please visit

The ANMC Trauma department hopes to train as many communities and Alaskans as they can. If you live outside the Anchorage area and would like to learn more about Stop the Bleed trainings, please contact:

Angeline Washington, RN at

Suzanne Metcalf, RN at

Tamsin Kurth, RN at

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