The RE Factor Tactical Tourniquet Standard

The propensity to carry a tourniquet, especially among civilians is on the rise which is great.  Massive hemorrhage is the most commonly found preventable death on the battlefield which means it’s crucial to carry the equipment to control it.

While many civilians, LE personnel and military personnel are carrying tourniquets, they often don’t have the training to properly apply it in a timely manner.  There are no set application time limits like we have in the shooting world where a certain draw speed, reload speed or split times have become standard for departments, courses or in challenges.  So here is our standard:

Reach your stored tourniquet with either hand, apply it only using one hand, in under 15 seconds.  

This means if you are carrying a tourniquet you should be able to grab it with either hand and apply to any extremity, to completion, in under 15 seconds.  This may seem easy but when you try it you will be amazed at how difficult it can actually be to accomplish the above in under 15 seconds.  After you have applied the tourniquet you should check your pulse either using a standard finger test method or using a pulse oximeter.  While both methods won’t guarantee you that you have applied the tourniquet 100% correctly it’s a fairly good measurement of how well you applied the tourniquet in under 15 seconds.   This standard exists no matter what kit you’re carrying, your physical or mental state, available ambient light or any other outside factor.

Below is a video we shot awhile back of applying the RATs Tourniquet.  (Yes we know it wasn’t from a stored position, yes we know we didn’t show how well it did or didn’t work and yes we know the “injured” extremity was moving.)  We will work on getting a better video but in the meantime it should get an idea of the standard across.

The reason we chose 15 seconds as our standard is because: 1. it’s an achievable standard that anyone can reach with some practice 2. if you have a massive hemorrhage you can lose consciousness in 15-20 seconds which means if you can get the tourniquet on in under 15 seconds you should (hopefully) apply it before going unconscious.

While it’s important to train with a tourniquet, it’s equally as important to not use a tourniquet that you train with as the tourniquet you trust your life with.  IF YOU USE A TOURNIQUET FOR TRAINING DO NOT USE IT AS YOUR PRIMARY TOURNIQUET.  Simply paint the tourniquet blue, red, pink or whatever color you need to help you remember it’s a training tourniquet only.  This is because when you use a tourniquet for training you begin to stress it; this coupled with environmental factors can drastically reduce your tourniquet’s efficacy or cause it to fail when it counts.

As far as what tourniquet to use we don’t care if you use a RATs, CAT, SOFT-T, SWAT-T or any other tourniquet on the market.  This isn’t a post to determine what tourniquet is the best, you can leave that for the millions of other forums out there.  As far as how to store/carry your tourniquet that is up to you as long as you can meet the standard above.  While we offer a number of carrying solutions for a number of types of tourniquets we suggest you use the one that allows you to quickly apply it as well as carry it securely.

If you can matched or beat the standard we want to see it!  Please feel free to upload your video of you getting your tourniquet on as set above and either tag us (@refactortactical on IG, reftactical on Twitter RE Factor Tactical on Facebook) or use #REFTTQSTANDARD.

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