In a trauma situation, when external, direct pressure isn’t sufficient for preventing excessive bleeding, a tourniquet can be an effective life-saving measure. We invited Mike Oberg, EMS training officer, Parkview Health, to demonstrate the proper way to secure both a commercially made and improvised tourniquet in an emergency.
Manufactured tourniquets are now often available near AED machines in many buildings.
1. If severe bleeding cannot be controlled through bandaging and direct pressure, secure the tourniquet around the arm or leg. Secure the Velcro tightly around the limb, a few inches above the injury site.
2. Bring the Velcro around the limb.
3. Twist the windless until the bleeding stops.
4. Once the bleeding is under control, lock the windless into place, secure and document the time.
Craft a tourniquet out of a long sleeve shirt or fabric strip from a bed sheet. Avoid belts or rope, which will not be effective. Make sure the fabric is at least two inches wide and as long as your arms held out wide.
1. Wrap the cloth around the limb a few inches above the injury. Tie once.
2. Use a stiff object, such as a screwdriver or stick, to create a windless. Tie the fabric once around the windless.
3. Twist the windless until the bleeding stops. Once it’s under control, take one tail and wrap it around twice and then back around the arm or leg. Tie into a knot.
Once the bleeding is under control, call 911 for assistance.