Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Prepper's Infirmary: Tourniquets

There have been many posts here, as well as discussions on social media pages, about  tourniquets and Stop the Bleed classes. This made me wonder how many people were interested in getting a tourniquet and training, but didn't know where to start.

Back in the Before Times, I was in this same position, but thanks to a number of knowledgeable friends, I was able to add a good quality tourniquet and basic medical kit to my range bag (discussed in an earlier post). Unfortunately, my plans for organizing a Stop the Bleed class at work were stymied by governmental and corporate responses to Covid-19. Now that society has initiated a return to a reasonable semblance of normalcy, I'm attempting to resume that plan.

There are a number of tourniquets on the market. A few are excellent, some are good, and too many that are worse than useless. I'm going to focus on the top end of that scale, but I urge our readers to do their own research.

The two most popular and preferred tourniquets currently available are the CAT and SOF-T brands.

CAT (l) and SOF-T (r) Tourniquets

The SOF-T is available from Tacmed solutions and the CAT from North American Rescue. There are many cheap knockoffs on the market, so I strongly recommend buying direct where possible instead of from Amazon.

As with any product, there are a number of pros and cons. For example, as the older of the two, the CAT has been around longer and has more name recognition, and first responders stock it almost exclusively. When digging through a medical kit in a government facility or vehicle, it's very likely a CAT is in the bag. The CAT is also considered very easy to self-apply with only a little practice. However, due to this and some other features, the CAT isn't as sleek when packed, and can be bulkier to store. This is not a major consideration for most, but still good to know.

The SOF-T, specifically the current Wide version, is considered easier to apply to another person than the CAT and packs flatter for easier storage. Either one is an excellent choice and would serve well in any trauma kit. Personally, I went with the CAT due to the easier to self-apply aspect, but it was a tough choice.
(Editor's Note: The biggest difference between the two is that the CAT uses Velcro and the SOF-T does not. Dirt, blood, or other contaminants may inhibit Velcro adhesion. For this reason a professional EMT recommends an SOF-T over a CAT.)
Both of these tourniquets run around thirty dollars as-is, and are sold alone or as part of an Individual First Aid Kit, or IFAK. There are also blue and orange colored training/practice tourniquets available from both manufacturers.

It's not enough to have the equipment to apply aid, we also need knowledge. This is where training classes come into play. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,190 fatal work injuries in 2021. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes that same year. To paraphrase the NRA tagline, how many of these deaths could have been prevented by a good guy with a med kit? Quite a few, I expect, which is why I urge everyone to seek out as much training as possible, whether it be basic first aidCPR, or a Stop the Bleed class. 

Remember, it's not just self-defense situations where we're our own first responders. Be prepared, and stay safe.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to