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0058-23 STB - Tourniquets_Thumb

Stop the Bleed Month: How a Tourniquet Works

Author Caleb Savant
4 months ago
We're uploading this video in May, which is National Stop the Bleed Month. Continuing our "STB" series, Caleb again welcomes special guest Chris Hoyne of North American Rescue. Chris tells us about an important life-saving tool for stopping massive bleeding, something that goes back to the time of the Roman Empire - the tourniquet. A tourniquet is applied to a victim's arm or leg after the limb has received an injury causing severe bleeding. Signs of severe bleeding include heavily blood-soaked clothing, a pool of blood on the ground under the victim, or in a worst-case scenario blood spurting from a wound.
CAUTION: In this video, Chris and Caleb discuss what a tourniquet is used for, but this is NOT sufficient information for you to go ahead and apply one in an emergency. Learn how to properly use a tourniquet by taking a training course, such as those offered by Stop the Bleed. To find an STB course near you, or to learn more about National Stop the Bleed Month, go to
Chris demonstrates on a willing Caleb how to apply a tourniquet using North American Rescue's Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT). The tourniquet should be placed 2" to 3" above the injury and NOT on the knee or elbow. The tourniquet should be pulled tight enough that you cannot slide three fingertips under it. Turn the windlass, the rod on the outside of the CAT, until the bleeding stops. Chris shows us how to secure the tail of the CAT to prevent accidental release of the tourniquet. There's even a place to write the time when the tourniquet was applied.
The CAT comes pre-looped, so it can be applied using only one hand. If the injured limb is caught in something - machinery, the interior of a wrecked vehicle, etc. - the Combat Application Tourniquet can be unfurled and wrapped around the limb. The CAT comes in three colors: black (preferred by military and law enforcement users), blue for training, and orange, which is commonly used in public-access Stop the Bleed kits. For emergency medical treatment, a tourniquet should be used only ONCE and never re-used. That why NAR offers blue tourniquets clearly designated for training only.