How to Make a Tourniquet 

 March 13, 2023

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If someone is injured and bleeding, applying direct pressure is often an effective treatment. In some cases, however, that’s not enough to prevent severe blood loss. In that type of situation, you can make a tourniquet.

When to Use a Tourniquet

You should only use a tourniquet if direct pressure doesn’t work. Only apply a tourniquet to an injured arm or leg. If the injury is near a joint, place a tourniquet above the joint. 

If the injury is on the head, neck, or torso, don’t use a tourniquet. Apply direct pressure to the wound. 

How to Create an Improvised Tourniquet

If a person is bleeding profusely, direct pressure doesn’t help, and you don’t have a first aid kit with a tourniquet, you can make one. Clothing is usually a good option for an improvised tourniquet. You can use a shirt, pants, a scarf, or a bandana. 

The material that you use should ideally be about 3 inches wide so pressure is distributed around the limb. If necessary, you can use a material that’s 1 ½ inches wide. 

Using a material that’s too narrow is unlikely to be effective. There’s also a greater risk of nerve damage. 

Wrap the material around the limb 2 to 4 inches above the site of the injury to limit blood flow to the injured area. When you apply the tourniquet, keep the material as flat as possible. If it’s long enough, wrap the material around the limb several times. Tie a knot to hold it in place. 

You’ll have to create a torsion device to tighten the tourniquet. Look for a rigid object, such as a stick, and tie it to the top layer of the tourniquet. Twist the torsion device to tighten the tourniquet, then tie another knot to secure the object in place. 

The tourniquet should be tight enough to stop the flow of bright red blood. If a small amount of dark red blood is still escaping from the wound, that’s ok. 

Get Medical Help

A tourniquet should only be used in an emergency, and only as a temporary measure. Leaving a tourniquet on for more than two hours can lead to further injury. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Only a medical professional should remove the tourniquet. 

Be Prepared to Handle an Emergency

If someone gets injured, a tourniquet can save the individual’s life. You can improvise in a pinch, but a commercial tourniquet is generally more effective. 

1st Aid Supplies sells first aid cabinets that can be mounted on a wall in a home or business, as well as first aid kits that are the right size for a house, workplace, or vehicle. Order first aid kits online or cabinets today.

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