In an emergency, you may very well have to administer first aid to others and to yourself. It may be a matter of life and death. Rapid loss of blood from a severed artery is fatal if the bleeding is not stopped within seconds in some cases.
Having the right bandages and the right tourniquet in your field medical kit and knowing how to apply them both can be a lifesaver.
Arteries and Veins
Arteries carry blood from the heart, so if an artery is severed or damaged in some way, the heart is literally pumping blood out of the wound. While on the other hand, veins carry blood from various organs back to the heart, and so the blood is not under as much pressure as it flows through the veins, because it is not being pumped directly from the heart.
A severed vein, while serious, is not as serious in most cases as is a severed artery, which needs to be treated immediately, even before administering CPR. Direct pressure stops bleeding and having the right bandage can save your life or the life of someone else.
The Israeli Bandage is one such bandage that can save a life because of its unique design. The emergency bandage was nicknamed the “Israeli Bandage” by American soldiers because it was invented by an Israeli military medic named Bernard Bar-Natan. The bandage became available for use in 2000. It is currently manufactured in Lod, Israel, by First Care Products Ltd.
The bandage is designed so it can be applied one-handed and it also has a pressure bar attached so once wrapped around the wound the pressure bar applies direct pressure to stop the bleeding. It is difficult if not impossible, in some cases, to apply direct pressure to a wound on your own body, so having a bandage that can be applied one handed and applies pressure for you at the same time can save your life.
There is a pressure applicator built in that applies the pressure once the bandage is wrapped around the wound, in bold red letters, it is stamped “other side to wound”, so it can be applied by anyone regardless of their medical training. There is a closure clip/bar to secure the wrap. If secured properly, the pressure applicator can apply up to 30 pounds of pressure.
The bandage comes in three sizes, 4, 6, and 12 inches. You can also purchase one that has two sterile pads, one on each side, so you can treat entrance and exit gunshot wounds, for example, using the same bandage. The 12-inch bandage is usually used to treat abdominal wounds.
To apply more pressure you would twist the bandage as you wrap around the wound. Offset the pressure applicator so it not directly over the wound. The Israeli bandage can also be used as a sling to immobilize a broken arm or used as an emergency tourniquet.
If administering first aid to others and you use a pressure bandage, you still have to apply pressure with your hands unless you use an Israeli Bandage. Having a pressure dressing that does the work for you frees you up to administer to others or to yourself.
One Israeli Bandage in your medical kit replaces the bulky 4×4 dressings, gauge, and other bandages such as the triangular bandage.
The Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) is a self-adhering band with a windlass strap, which has a rod and a clip to hold the rod in place once it is twisted tight. It is small, lightweight and can be placed on the injured area using only one hand making it ideal for self-administering.
It is used to stop bleeding due to injuries to the arms and legs where a pressure bandage cannot be applied or where the bandage and direct pressure itself is not enough to control the bleeding.
A tourniquet can be any cordage wrapped and tightened a few inches above the wound, (between the heart and the wound), but if used incorrectly the limb can be permanently damaged and often times has to be removed because of dead tissue. The tissue in the injured limb will deteriorate quickly below the tourniquet because the blood flow has been restricted.
If your arm is wounded or a portion amputated, it would be nearly impossible to apply a standard tourniquet to stop the bleeding. That’s why you need a CAT in your medical kit to self-administer or to use on others.
The CAT is all in one so nothing else is needed, and it is always ready to apply.
To use you simply slide the tourniquet, one handed if needed, onto the limb and pull the self-adhering band. It will stay in place so can use the tightening rod one handed, as well, to twist to apply pressure. Twist the rod in either direction to tighten. Once done, the rod is secured in place with an attached clip.
One applied note the time it was applied. If you believe, you may not be with the patient when medical help arrives write the letter “T” on their forehead with the time the tourniquet was applied. The tourniquet should be loosened for a few seconds every 15-20 minutes to allow some blood flow to the tissue to keep the tissue alive.
If the tourniquet is on you, do not loosen in case you pass out while it is loosened, you will bleed to death if this happens. You may lose the limb if the tourniquet is left on too long, but the alternative is losing your life.