Applying a tourniquet to a limb in the event of catastrophic bleeding dramatically increases a person’s chances of survival. Based on the latest medical research, updates to tourniquet placement have been made which we want to share with you.
Tourniquet placement isn’t just something for the battle field – it’s for any situation where blood is pulsating out of a limb and direct pressure isn’t stopping it. We regularly teach how to deal with this during our first aid training courses – so the teacher witnessing a student accidentally put their arm through a glass window at school or anyone witnessing a road traffic collision – knows what to do – and fast.
Purpose made tourniquets are available – but they can also be quickly created with items we often have to hand, such as shirt sleeves, handbag straps and ties. In fact, it’s well documented that several lives have been saved during recent terrorist attacks because of members of the general public making makeshift tourniquets out of whatever they could find.
In the past, the advice has been to apply the tourniquet over a single bone only (e.g. upper arm or leg), regardless of where on the limb the wound was. However, research and military experience has now concluded that applying a tourniquet as close to the wound as possible is effective – even around the lower arm or leg.
For more information on this update, please see the statement from The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care):
If you’re not sure how to deal with catastrophic bleeding or how to place a tourniquet, then we’re more than happy to help. We strongly believe in being able to share life saving skills with as many people as possible. Simply get in touch to ask for advice or find out about attending or booking a course.