Types of Tourniquets

Video 15 of 36
2 min 25 sec

What we're going to do now is look at the different types of a tourniquet. Now, there are two sorts of groups of tourniquet we're going to be looking at, commercial tourniquets and improvised tourniquets. Now, a commercial tourniquet is a tourniquet that you'd physically buy. There are three main types of the commercial tourniquet. This one here is the CAT tourniquet, we have the SOF-T tourniquet, and we have the MAT tourniquet. Now, they're available in different colours. Typically, the black ones are often used in the military settings and the orange with first aid so that you can see them easily, however it doesn't really make any difference. It doesn't matter what colour they are, they're still exactly the same in their function. 

There are some key differences and features of each one of these tourniquets. In separate videos, we're going to have a look at each type, how to use it, and the individual features of it, but basically, they're all used in the same way. They're applied to an arm or a leg, they're applied on a single bone rather than a double bone, so in other words, we're doing it on the upper arm and upper leg, rather than the lower arm and the lower leg. We're applying them very tight, and they must be very tight in order to cut off the circulation of both the arteries and the veins.

The other option you've got is what's called an improvised tourniquet. We'll show you this, how to use this in a separate video, but an improvised tourniquet can be just something like a sling. Now, with the slings, they work very, very well, but you must make sure that the improvised tourniquet's around 3.5 centimetres. If they're too narrow, they're going to cut in too much and they may not be quite as effective. Now we're saying use a sling, and in a lot of first aid kits, they have a paper type sling. They obviously won't be any good, they'll only work with the material type, but you could use other products, maybe a scarf or a sleeve of a shirt, or something like that, just to be able to tie around, but you need to be able to apply a lot of pressure, so it needs to be something strong. Whichever type you choose, it's important will all tourniquets to note the time the tourniquet's been applied. Commercial tourniquets usually have a section on it you can write on it, and with these, you can write on it, or just write on the patient's skin the actual time that they've been applied. In most first aid kits in the workplace, you won't have these so they would need to be bought separately and added to the first kit.