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Brandon Currin

How & When to Apply a Hasty Tourniquet

How & When to Apply a Hasty Tourniquet

A tourniquet is traditionally a constricting band placed around an arm or leg to control bleeding of a wound. These aren’t just little wounds we’re talking about; these are the giant wounds -- the ones that could be life-threatening if they don’t stop bleeding soon. Knowing how to apply one in the wilderness can mean surviving a vital situation.

It sounds serious, but taking the time to learn how to apply a hasty tourniquet (i.e. a tourniquet made out of some clothing or cloth) can help you feel more comfortable should the need ever arise. The most important thing is to remain calm and seek medical attention immediately.

Here are some things you should know.

When to apply:

A tourniquet should only be used if a pressure dressing has failed to stop the bleeding or an arm or leg has been amputated.

How to apply:

Tips for applying:

  • If a limb has been amputated, the individual will likely not bleed at first. This is due to the body’s natural defenses of contracting blood vessels. However, bleeding will start as the blood vessels begin to relax.
  • Don’t move or loosen the tourniquet. Once it’s been applied and the bleeding stops, leave it in place. If moved, this could enhance shock and even lead to death.
  • Never place a tourniquet directly over the wound. Place it between 2-4 inches away from the wound site, between the wound and the person’s torso.
  • Don’t damage the skin. Make sure the tourniquet is at least 2 inches wide in order to minimize skin damage.
We hope it never comes to this, but if it does, you’ll be glad you prepared. Have you ever had to apply a hasty tourniquet before? We salute you. Head on over to our Facebook page to tell us your story.

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