DETERMINING IF A TOURNIQUET IS REQUIRED.
A tourniquet is a constricting band placed around an extremity to stop arterial
bleeding by stopping blood circulation to the part of the limb below (distal to) the
tourniquet. Normally, a tourniquet is only used on an arm or leg where there is a danger
of the casualty bleeding to death. However, if the tactical situation does not allow the
time or safety for conventional methods of controlling the bleeding (you and the casualty
are under fire), a tourniquet may be applied to a bleeding wound until the casualty can
be moved to safety. Once you and the casualty have reached safety, consider
loosening the tourniquet (do not remove the tourniquet) and using direct pressure
and/or a pressure dressing to control the hemorrhage.
If the tourniquet has been in place for more than 6 hours, do not remove the
A tourniquet is not used for wounds to the head, neck, or trunk
(chest and abdominal area).
a. Wound on an Extremity. Bleeding from a major artery of the thigh, lower
leg, or arm and bleeding from multiple arteries may prove to be beyond control by the
methods discussed previously in this lesson. If the pressure dressing under firm hand
pressure becomes soaked with blood and the wound continues to bleed, apply a
If you are unable to control bleeding except with a tourniquet,
it is better to sacrifice a limb than to lose a life due to excessive
(1) An amputation may be complete (the limb is completely severed) or
partial (the two parts of the limb remain connected by some skin). Both require a
tourniquet. Both involve bleeding from multiple arteries and are beyond control by other