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Tourniquet Carry and Application: Case Analysis


tourniquet carry and application

Check out the video on the @vdevelopmentgroup IG page, below.  Original (full length video) posted on @officer__involved IG page.

What is the issue here? The officer did not know how to apply a tourniquet, the tourniquet he did apply was ineffectively applied, and he was carrying a tourniquet still in its plastic wrapping.  Lots of serious issues to unpack here.

First and foremost, if you do not know how to apply a tourniquet, your agency failed at training you, your supervisor failed at training you, and you failed at training for reality.  The tourniquet can also fail at being required to be applied a certain way in order to work properly.  You may believe this is not the case, but it clearly is here.  The majority of windlass tourniquets are completely unforgiving when it comes to an application under stress.  You either apply them properly or they do not work, there is no middle ground.  This is one of the (many) reasons why I default to the Ratcheting Medical Tourniquet (RMT) (links to vdev.group).  I have written a bunch of different articles and posts about the RMT, and at this point, if you are not carrying one in any capacity (off/on duty, EDC, vehicle, etc) you are setting yourself up for failure.  You should be carrying one, you should be training with one, you should be training other people with one, your kids, your family members, everyone.  There are absolutely zero excuses at this point.

If the tourniquet you are issued, or you buy, is still in the plastic, and you are going to carry that tourniquet in any type of first-line kit (meaning deployable from a belt or vest to immediately affect a situation, like a blade, gun, etc) you should always make sure it is removed from its wrapping.  The tourniquet should be able to be durable enough to survive life without plastic wrapping in real-world applications for at least two years.  The RMT does this for at least five, but you'll likely replace it within four and use it as a dedicated training tourniquet, or move it down the line into your bag for second or third-line use.

You must train with the tourniquet you carry every day.  That means deploying it and applying it yourself, and others (in a demo situation, with their consent of course), so that you can show that it is very easy to do and you can burn the good reps training appropriately.  If you do not do this, you will react as this undertrained officer did while in a stressful situation, in condition black.  Meaning you will not do what you want to do because you never trained to do it properly.

Train to win, not train to fail.