If you have to deal with a catastrophic bleed on a leg or an arm and you do not have a commercial tourniquet you can use an improvised tourniquet.
In these examples, we are using a triangular bandage from a first-aid kit but you could use something like a tie or a scarf. But you do need to make sure that when you tighten it up you use something very strong. A pen would probably just break so something like a spoon or screwdriver would be best.
The important thing with tourniquet is to apply them quickly as any delay will lead to more blood loss.
Apply them above the injury site but not over a joint. So if there is an injury just below the knee we need to put it onto the thigh. If you are treating an injury on a joint then place the tourniquet above the joint.
To make a tourniquet using a triangular bandage or whatever you have, take it out of the package and roll it up so it is one long line.
Wrap that around the limb tie a half knot and then lay something over the top to act as the windlass and tie another half knot.
Using the windlass, wind it round and round and round until it is tight enough to stop the bleeding. This is going to hurt, but it will stop the bleeding but it is vital we get this done as soon as possible to maintain as much blood in the body as possible.
Once it is tight we just tie off the ends and hold it securely in place.
Tourniquets are only removed by a doctor in a hospital under controlled circumstances. If you need to you can add a second tourniquet, place another above the first.
Note the time that you applied the tourniquet and tell this to the EMS.
Once you have applied the tourniquet look after the patient keeps them warm and keep talking to them.
Finally, if they have not already been called, make sure emergency services are on the way.
For more information on first aid training or equipment call 01206 805359 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.protrainings.uk