Emergency CAT Tourniquet Strap | What you Need to Know

We all know accidents can happen, especially for those who put themselves in harms way. Adventure travelers, backpackers, survivalists, etc. Luckily, many accidents are not life threatening. A sprained ankle, broken wrist, cut or gash, are painful and can put a damper on your travels or excursions, but not life threatening.

However, there are those times when a tragic accident can strike and it’s important that you’re prepared and ready. One way is by equipping yourself with the tools and knowledge that can save your or someone else’s life. A key piece of gear that can save a life is an emergency CAT tourniquet strap.

Emergency CAT Tourniquet Straps: A must-have in every emergency kit

For starters, a tourniquet is a type of device that is a must-have in every emergency kit. When you step or pinch on a garden hose, it stops water from flowing. This is also how a tourniquet works: it stops major blood flow from ligaments due to injuries. Both medical and military personnel often carry a tourniquet in their first aid kits, and you should too.

It is said that severe bleeding or hemorrhaging accounts for as much as 80 percent of combat deaths. Such deaths could have been avoided with the use of a tourniquet. Because it involves life-and-death situations, it is best that you invest in one for your emergency kit. One of the most popular types is the portable, emergency Combat Action Tourniquet (CAT) tourniquet strap.

The great thing about this type of tourniquet is that it’s lightweight, portable and reliable.

Following are questions that we are often asked about emergency CAT tourniquet straps.

Common emergency CAT tourniquet questions:

Do emergency CAT tourniquet straps have expiration dates?

Technically, there is no specific expiration date for CAT tourniquets. However, it is best to replace it if it has been exposed to direct sunlight or stored in a harsh environment. CAT tourniquets are usually made to tolerate extreme conditions such as in military settings. In short, replacement may only be necessary if it has been used for many years or often exposed to harsh conditions.

How long must you leave a CAT tourniquet on?

Experts recommend using a tourniquet not more than two hours. Otherwise, it can lead to a permanent blood vessel, nerve, and muscle damage. Worse, prolonged use of a tourniquet can lead to amputation.

Does a tourniquet kill the limb?

Putting a tourniquet on an injured limb can actually be life-saving. A CAT tourniquet is better than using DIY tourniquets (ex. a piece of cloth and sticks) in terms of saving the injured body part. As to answer the above question, it may have something to do with its early use prior to the amputation procedure. The truth is that tissue damage can occur, but not necessarily lead to the “death” of a limb.

How painful is a tourniquet?

If it hurts, it means the tourniquet is applied properly. It is meant to be that way, unfortunately. On the other hand, a loosely-applied tourniquet will not be effective in preventing the gushing of blood due to an injury. Removing it prematurely just because it seems too tight is also a no-no. It can increase the risk of blood loss and death.

How tight should a tourniquet be?

A tourniquet should be tight enough to constrict blood flow. As mentioned, tightening the tourniquet can be really painful. Doing so should slow down and stop the bleeding. Also, make sure to tie the tourniquet at least five centimeters above the injury.

Is a tourniquet used as a last resort?

Using a CAT should be considered a last resort in terms of controlling blood flow. Make sure to apply pressure to the injured part and elevating it first before applying the CAT.

Can an emergency CAT tourniquet strap cause amputation?

So far, there are no reports of amputations at least among military-related tourniquet applications. Also, there is little to none evidence that using a tourniquet can cause damage to an already-injured limb.

Can you use a belt as a tourniquet?

As you might have seen in the movies, some people use a belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. However, it is not as effective as using a CAT. While you can tighten it the way you use it on your waist, it won’t be tight enough to stop blood flow.

Emergency CAT Tourniquet Strap Instructions

Following are the steps to apply a tourniquet. However, we found a site that provides much more detail on using a portable emergency CAT tourniquet and have also linked to them. click here to be directed to their page.

  1. Loop the injured body part (ex. limb or abdomen) around the Omni-tape band. In some cases, you would have to thread the band into the adapter buckle.
  2. Measure around two to four inches above the injured part. Then, put the tourniquet as per the measurement.
  3. After placing the CAT, tighten it using the band and secure it on the Velcro.
  4. Once secured on the Velcro, twist the rod up to three times. More than three times, and it can break the rod. Then, insert the rod into the clip.
  5. Thread the tape band into the windlass clip. Lastly, make sure it is secured on the strap.
  6. If bleeding does not slow down or stop, try applying another CAT. Measure two to four inches above the other CAT and do the same procedure as above.
  7. Write the time the tourniquet was applied on the ‘time strap’. Remember, a tourniquet should not remain on past two hours.

In Conclusion

We hope this article shed some light on the importance of carrying an emergency CAT tourniquet strap in your survival kit or first aid bag. Because you never know when life threatening accident will occur.

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