Trying to decide what the best tourniquet is for you? The Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) is often viewed as the best device for controlling life-threatening bleeds and is trusted by medical professions all around the world. The SOF-T Wide is also just as trusted, but not quite so widely used. This doesn’t mean it’s inferior.
The CAT has the benefit of being the first to the market and was picked up by the US and British militaries for combat applications and so it enjoys great data supporting its effectiveness.
The SOF-T Wide came onto the scene a short time later, but since it was approved by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC) after the CAT, it isn’t as widely recognized, but still deserves your consideration in my opinion.
I have used both TQ’s in real world applications and I have some opinions that might help you decide which is the right TQ for you.
Let me start off this article by acknowledging my biased opinion.
I run a blog and YouTube channel dedicated to emergency trauma management for a website that sells trauma kits, so it would seem I have a vested interest in supporting medical kits over firearms when it comes to personal protection.
That said, I feel my opinion is justified because the points I have are good ones and might change your mind on which you should buy first.
Knowing how to use the equipment you have available is a key detail for saving lives. If you don’t understand how your gear works and what it’s doing when you deploy it, the effectiveness can be drastically reduced.
This is especially true for tourniquets. It’s not enough to simply buy lifesaving equipment, then never learn how to use it right. I have seen many occasions where a person had a quality TQ like the CAT but didn’t use it correctly.
There is a myth about tourniquets that it should be loosened every so often to allow some blood to flow back into the limb. This, supposedly, is so the limb is getting oxygenated blood to the limb and it will therefore not need to be amputated.
The hardest part about emergency trauma care is managing the chaos that tends to invade every situation. Basic first aid is surprisingly simple, but the nature of it being an emergency rachets up the stress and quickly makes those simple things surprisingly difficult.
So, since the hard part of emergencies is really just about managing high levels of stress, how can we be more effective first responders?
Professionals are no different then you, they just have better methods of managing the stress. Let’s look at some of the ways to prevent being overwhelmed when everything and everyone around you seems to be falling apart.
I know I already touched on this topic a few weeks ago, but I wanted to go a little more in depth on why I believe the SWAT-T is a great back up.
When I became a part of Mountain Man Medical earlier this year, I knew I was about to learn a lot. Not only was I going to brush up on old trauma skills, but I was going to learn about how to publish articles and videos. Being a knuckledragger with a low-level IQ means it’s tenacity that wins the day over speed. Eventually, I’ll learn a new thing if I apply myself.
What I was unprepared for was how many rumors and myths I’ve encountered surrounding basic trauma medicine. The medical world is constantly changing and evolving. New techniques are always being studied, developed, improved on, thrown away, or otherwise changed so something once thought of as the gospel truth, is now widely frowned upon in modern medicine.
History was made by Staff Sergeant Charles Bowen and Sergeant Ty Able one long night in Afghanistan when they utilized a brand-new procedure developed by the Army to keep our nations warriors in the fight.
The Ranger O Low Titer (or ROLO as the troops know it), uses a live donor to supply combat medics with a fresh supply of blood on the battlefield.
Bowen and Able were conducting operations with their unit, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, in the Wardak province of Afghanistan in the summer of 2019.
Work for the medics began after the Rangers were attempting to dislodge a barricaded shooter. Three soldiers were injured by an explosion and the two units of blood every Ranger medic carries was quickly used up treating the casualties.
Having a commercial, purpose-made tourniquet ready to go in an emergency is essential for keeping someone alive. Trying to build your own on the spot takes time you don’t have and won’t be nearly as effective as something like the CAT.
And no, your belt is not an acceptable substitute of a quality tourniquet. I run into people all the time that say they would just use their belt to control a life-threatening bleed because they haven’t stopped to think about how it might actually be done.
If you've ready any of the articles in this blog, you may have heard me harping on the fact that, in an emergency, the first step should be to call 911. Emergencies are concerning because of the lack of available resources needed to keep a casualty alive.
Emergencies don’t generally occur in a hospital fully staffed with experienced doctors and nurses with complex medical equipment and access to a broad range of pharmaceuticals.
So, we need to get the casualty to those resources as quickly and as safely possible by getting EMT’s on scene with an ambulance.
Since this may be the most important thing you do to save the life of the casualty, we need to discuss how to speak with a 911 operator in an emergency when you are likely to be a little shook up.
It’s easy to get things mixed up, rush your words, and speak incoherently when adrenaline is running full tilt.
According to the CDC, over 1 million people a year are reported to have burns that require medical attention. These burns can come from a lot of different factors, from thermal burns like exposure to a heat source, or from chemicals.
With the rioting and looting going on in America today, the Molotov Cocktail is seeing a come back and understanding how to care for a burn patient might be important.
Let’ s first examine the 3 classifications of burns.