Have you ever been wounded? If so, then chances are you have seen a tourniquet and want to learn how to use one.
Tourniquets are elastic bands that are used to stop the flow of blood to a wound.
In most cases, tourniquets should only be used by first aiders and medical professionals, as knowing when to use a tourniquet can be difficult to determine.
In this article, we will teach you how to apply a tourniquet and when the practice should be implemented.
When To Use A Tourniquet?
Despite being important medical supplies, tourniquets should never be used by civilians, as they can cause serious tissue damage and bruising.
However, there are certain situations where a tourniquet will need to be applied without medical assistance, as this helps to stop the flow of blood and keep a person stable until they can receive the correct medical attention.
For example, tourniquets may need to be applied in car accidents, gunshot wounds, severe cuts, and crushed limbs. Fortunately, most people will never find themselves in a situation where they will need to use a tourniquet.
However, if you do find yourself faced with a serious injury, knowing how to use a tourniquet could make the difference between saving and losing a life.
What Materials Can You Use?
If you are a first responder or medical professional, then chances are you will have access to a commercial tourniquet.
However, if you are a normal person, then chances are you will need to fashion your own tourniquet from the materials around you.
It is also important to note that a tourniquet should only be used once you have assessed the situation and determined that it is safe to conduct first aid.
According to medical research, improvised tourniquets are 60% effective, which is not the most reassuring number.
However, if you have the correct materials, then you should be able to fashion your own tourniquet in an emergency situation, thus allowing you to stop a person’s bleeding and save their life.
When it comes to fashioning a tourniquet, it will need two parts: a bandage and something that can be used as a windlass.
For this, we recommend using a stick or branch, which can be secured with a belt, shirt, or towel.
Of course, using a tourniquet means that you will be exposed to blood and other fluids. Because of this, it is advisable to don protective gear before administering the band.
How To Apply A Tourniquet
While you don’t need to be a medical professional to use a tourniquet, you still need to understand the application process.
In the instructions below, we have outlined how to use a tourniquet and the precautions you should take:
Step One: Call 911
Before you can start administering first aid, you must first assess the situation and call 911 for assistance. If you are with another person, then you can ask them to call an ambulance while you attend to those in need of medical attention.
It is also important to note that tourniquets may not be necessary, as most wounds can be treated with applied pressure.
Tourniquets should also only be used on limbs, which means they cannot be applied to the head or torso.
Step Two: Locate The Source
Once the ambulance has been called, you can assess the person’s injuries to determine the source of the bleed.
In some cases, certain wounds will be easier to locate than others, such as when a limb has been severed or removed. While other lacerations may be harder to find because of clothing and various debris.
To determine the source of the bleed, it is recommended that you lay the person down and examine them from head to toe. During this process, you will need to remain focused until you can locate the wound.
Step Three: Use Pressure
When the source of the bleed has been detected, you will need to use pressure to control the flow. However, if the wound continues to bleed once the pressure has been applied, then you will need to use a tourniquet to quench the current.
Of course, the application of a tourniquet can be extremely painful for the wounded person, which is why you will need to warn them before administering the treatment.
In some cases, the person may even try to escape or refuse the tourniquet, which means you will need to restrain them before fashioning the band.
Step Four: Apply The Tourniquet
Take the material you have chosen and position it on the limb about several inches from the wound. In most cases, the tourniquet will need to be placed on the part of the limb that is closest to the heart.
For example, if the wound is located below the knee or elbow, then the tourniquet will need to be positioned above the joint.
Once the bandage has been tied around the limb, you can use a stick or branch to form the windlass.
A windlass is essentially a kind of lever that is used to tighten the tourniquet and stop the flow of blood. The stick will need to be inserted into the tourniquet knot and twisted until it is secure.
While using the windlass, you will need to keep an eye on the bleeding and determine when it has started to slow.
Once the current has stopped, you can secure the windlass by tying it to the limb and holding the pressure in place.
Step Five: Watch The Time
Tourniquets can only be applied for a maximum of two hours, otherwise, you could risk causing more damage to the limb.
For this reason, you should make a note of when the band was applied so that you can tell the medical staff when they arrive.
It is also important to note that tourniquets should never be removed or loosened once they have been applied, as this action can only be administered by a medical professional or doctor.
Tourniquets can be applied by anyone. However, we do recommend waiting for medical assistance before administering the treatment.
If you find yourself in a situation where a tourniquet needs to be used, be mindful of the problems that could arise once the band has been applied.