Section III. APPLYING AN IMPROVISED TOURNIQUET
2-22. IMPROVISED TOURNIQUETS
Improvised tourniquets are extremely effective and should be readily available.
As stated previously, the immediate need for access to a tourniquet is essential to the
combat medic. A limited number of manufactured tourniquets may be available.
There are many techniques for pre-tying the windlass device to the cravat so that
tourniquet application can be faster. The following steps do not address many of
these techniques, but they give the good basic technique.
2-23. GATHER MATERIALS FOR MAKING AN IMPROVISED TOURNIQUET
If you do not have a field tourniquet available, you can make an improvised
tourniquet. You will need a tourniquet band, a rigid object, and padding materials.
Additional securing material may also be needed.
a. Tourniquet Band. Obtain a band of strong, pliable, folded material which is
at least two inches wide. A cravat made from a folded muslin bandage (figure 2-11) is
preferred. A folded handkerchief, a folded strip of clothing, or a belt can also be used
as the tourniquet band. Do not use wire, shoestrings, or other narrow materials for the
tourniquet band. A wide tourniquet band protects the tissues beneath the tourniquet
when it is tightened. Very narrow materials may result in serious damage to the
nerves and blood vessels when the tourniquet is tightened.
b. Rigid Object. Obtain a rigid object, usually a stick, which is long enough
and sturdy enough to tighten the tourniquet band and be secured.
c. Padding. Obtain padding material to be placed between the limb and the
tourniquet band to protect the skin from being pinched and twisted when the band is
tightened. Soft, smooth material should be used for the padding. The casualty's shirt
sleeve or trouser leg can be used as padding.
d. Securing Materials. Obtain material to be used to secure the rigid object
once the tourniquet band has been tightened. If the cravat used as a tourniquet band
is long enough, the tails of the cravat can be used to secure the rigid object. Another
cravat or strip of cloth similar to the tourniquet band can be used to secure the rigid
2-24. APPLY THE TOURNIQUET
a. Select the Tourniquet Site. Select a site that is two to four inches above
the edge of the wound, but not over a joint or at the edge of the field dressing. If the
wound is just below the elbow or knee, select a site above the joint and as close to the
joint as possible.