Basic emergency skills are a must-have to survive the perils you encounter in your backyard or in the wilderness. Certainly, modern medics carry bags full of gear, but what they do in lieu of the tools is what you should know for survival. First aid techniques aren’t in the textbooks. They’re tested survival skills passed down through medics generation. They’re simple, fast, and life-saving. In this article, we are going to explain in detail how to apply a tourniquet.
Over the years, use of tourniquets has caused so much debate in First Aid. They are comprehensive devices, usually soft and flexible. They are wrapped loosely around an injured arm or leg to control bleeding, and they have saved countless lives. They provide effective means that stop a catastrophic haemorrhage. You will need them whenever you have uncontrollable bleeding, an amputated limb, and multiple victims to address.
Making a Tourniquet
To make a tourniquet, you need material, windlass, and a secure mechanism. The material should be at least one inch in width. Make your tourniquet wide because narrow tourniquets are very dangerous and likely to be less effective. Good material options include a necktie, an ace bandage, a scarf, and a nylon webbing. Make sure the material you are using is non-stretchy.
#Step 1 – Position and Tie the Tourniquet Around the Wound
Tourniquets are bands used to control bleeding. They increase pressure to completely stop blood flow to a wound. Try using less damaging steps to control bleeding before using a tourniquet. Tie the tourniquet several inches above the injury, and use a common square knot. Don’t leave it on the wound for a long time because it can lead to severe tissue damage.
#Step 2 – Add a Windlass
Place a strong item on the knot to act as a windlass, which is a lever that will make the tourniquet tighter. Thereafter, tie the loose ends of the tourniquet in another square knot. You can use any item as a windlass, as long as it’s strong enough and can be secured in place. Some of the items you can use are spoons, pens, pipes, and sticks.
#3 – Twist the Windlass
To increase pressure, twist the windlass until bleeding stops. Tie the ends of the windlass to the arm or leg of the victim to secure it. If possible, you can put a “T” with the day or time on the forehead of the victim to mark the time the tourniquet was placed.
#Step 4 – Reassess the Wound
Once the tourniquet is complete, reassess the wound and confirm if bleeding has slowed down to an insignificant amount or has stopped. Thoroughly evaluate the victim to make sure there’s no other life-threatening bleeds. Furthermore, you can check for a pulse in the injured limb. Go ahead and note the time of tourniquet application, and await first responders or evacuate the victim to advanced care.
When using tourniquets, never use narrow strips or cords that could cut skin and muscle when tightened. Complications should be taken into account before using tourniquets to save someone’s life. When you’re addressing the victims, wear personal protective equipment and practice universal precautions. Use them in unsafe scenes when there’s no time to attempt less damaging steps to control bleeding.
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