Providence Alaska Medical Center staff shared vital first aid skills with Anchorage residents Monday, in a class focused on how to halt blood loss from major injuries.

Although many attendees already know what to do in an emergency, Monday's free class, held as part of the national Stop the Bleed Month, gave them a chance improve their skills while showing others how to help when needed.

"I use it every day when I'm at work, and then I've had to use it on several occasions when I've been out in the community," said Providence trauma nurse Krista Ralls.

Anchorage firefighters were among those who took part in the training as part of the national Stop the Bleed event.

According to Stop the Bleed, the average time for first responders to arrive on scene is 7 to 10 minutes nationwide. The public can buy valuable time for a patient by knowing what to do.

"Assist them in kind of controlling life-threatening situations, so that they feel empowered, and contribute to help saving an individual," Ralls said.

"I for one am not on the front line, I'm not the boots on the ground in emergency services, I handle more of a business aspect," said Guardian Flight's Jessica Hyatt. "So it's good to know also what my crews are doing, and then also know what I can do in the community."

Packing a wound with gauze helps apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Uncontrolled bleeding is the number one cause of preventable death from trauma. Stop the Bleed found the average time for someone to die from bleeding is two to five minutes.

Among nearly 1,300 trauma patients Providence handled in 2018, 80% of them involved blunt trauma. Close to 12%, however, involved penetrating trauma — in which an object, like a projectile or knife, enters the body, spokesperson Mikal Canfield said.

Providence also reported that eight patients arrived at the hospital last year with a tourniquet in place. People at Monday's class learned about their importance as well: all part of a lesson that may help save a life.

Providence offers a free Stop the Bleed class every second Saturday of the month.

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