Tourniquets are devices used to help slow and stop extreme bleeding from arms and legs. Extreme bleeding can happen in an accident where a main artery is damaged. When a main artery is damaged, the average person has an average of four minutes to either use a tourniquet or access emergency medical care to prevent loss of life. Because the average response time for emergency medical care is approximately four to 10 minutes, depending on where you live, it is important to use a tourniquet when needed. Advanced first aid training online and professional rescuer certification can help teach you the techniques and skills to use a tourniquet correctly.
First aid certification online courses teach us that tourniquets should be used as high as you can go on the wounded limb. For example, if a main artery has been damaged in your leg, you should tie a tourniquet to the upper thigh. If a main artery in your arm has been damaged, you should tie a tourniquet to the upper arm near the shoulder. Many individuals are hesitant to use tourniquets out of fear of damaging the nerves in the limb. This is not a concern that should prevent you from providing care that you learned with your first aid and CPR certificate. If someone is bleeding so severely that a tourniquet is needed, not providing the tourniquet would result in a loss of life. Possible nerve damage is a minimal risk to sustain life and save a person in need. In the event that a tourniquet is used, do not attempt to remove the device once it is in place. The emergency medical rescue team will maintain the condition under the patient is safely with the emergency room doctor to assess the situation and determine a plan of action. If the tourniquet is removed without professional medical care, you risk severe bleeding and the person’s life or recovery time could be significantly impacted.
Tourniquets are easy to get and can be purchased online or at a medical supply store. Many first responders carry tourniquet kits in their emergency medical bag. Some of the local fire departments promote and sell them as well in various communities. If you have already taken a first aid course, consider signing up for first aid recertification to stay current on your skills and knowledge to help save someone in need.