Mary Erasmus, Alta View Hospital Trauma Coordinator, discusses the proper way to apply a tourniquet when one of your loved ones or a stranger you come across is bleeding out and you must act quickly before it’s too late.  Stop the Bleed is an initiative to help people know what to do in a crisis situation before paramedics arrive. 

Here are some tips to making the best use out of a tourniquet in a critical situation:

1.Apply a tourniquet only for serious bleeding:

  • It’s important to recognize when to apply a tourniquet as it’s not appropriate for all injuries. 
  • The only way to stop bleeding is through pressure – whether direct pressure or using a tourniquet for serious bleeding.
  • Two things determine serious bleeding: volume and flow. Volume means how much blood is present: think half of a soda can. Flow means blood that is squirting out, flowing continuously or even pooling.
  • If you come upon a scene or situation, and think to yourself “Wow, that’s a lot of blood,” it’s probably appropriate to use a tourniquet. But if it’s not serious bleeding, you can still help by applying direct pressure by placing gauze or another soft material over the wound and applying strong pressure with your hands.   

2. Use a tourniquet only on limbs such as the arms or legs:

  • The only area where a tourniquet will be successful is on the arms or limbs. Use direct pressure on other parts of the body.

3. Place the tourniquet 2-3 inches above the wound, not directly on the wound.

  • For a professional tourniquet, pull, twist and clip. Pull the free end of the Velcro strap, thread it through the buckle, pull tight, and twist the rod until the bleeding stops or until you can’t twist anymore. Then clip the rod. Then write down the time applied. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, apply a second tourniquet above the first one.
  • For a makeshift tourniquet, wrap a long band such as a neck tie, t-shirt torn into a long strip, scarf, ace bandage or bandana that’s 1-2 inches wide, above the wound. Tie it once and place a solid object such as a broom handle, pocket knife (with blade closed) on the knot you tied. Then tie it again and twist until the blood stops. Secure until medical staff arrives.

4. Twist until the bleeding stops and do not remove the tourniquet until EMS arrives 

  • The process of applying the tourniquet will be extremely painful for the victim, but it’s important to be persistent and continue twisting until the bleeding stops. Do not release the tourniquet, even if the victim is begging. It could mean the difference between life and death.

For more life saving tips, go to Stop the Bleed event is April 23, 2018 at 6:00-7:00 p.m. at Alta View Hospital, Oquirrh Mountain Classroom 9660 S 1300 E, Sandy,UT