Importance of tourniquets in first aid

The critical role of tourniquets in first aid: Saving lives through essential training

In emergency situations where severe bleeding occurs, the timely use of a tourniquet can mean the difference between life and death. Understanding when and how to apply a tourniquet is an essential component of first aid training for healthcare professionals and anyone who may find themselves in a critical situation. In this blog, Dr Richard Dune explores the vital importance of tourniquets, backed by key facts, legislation, and best practices, and highlights how our training courses can equip you with life-saving skills.

Understanding tourniquets

A tourniquet is a device used to apply pressure to a limb or extremity to limit – but not stop – blood flow. This can be crucial in preventing a victim of severe injuries, such as those sustained in accidents or during violent incidents, from bleeding to death.

Key facts and statistics

  • According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), severe bleeding is one of the top five causes of preventable deaths from injury.
  • Research indicates that the proper use of tourniquets improves survival rates in severe limb traumas by as much as 85%.
  • Data from conflict zones, where tourniquet application is common, supports their effectiveness in saving lives when used correctly.

Legislation, regulations, and best practice

In the UK, the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 mandate that employers provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities, and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if injured or taken ill at work. This includes training employees in essential first aid procedures like tourniquet application, aligned with the Approved Code of Practice (L74).

Best practices in tourniquet use

  • Selection - Use a commercial tourniquet designed for the purpose, such as the Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) or the Special Operation Forces Tactical Tourniquet (SOFTT).
  • Application - Place the tourniquet 5-10 cm above the injury, between the injury and the heart. Tighten until the bleeding stops.
  • Training - Regular training and refreshers are crucial to ensure effective and safe tourniquet use.

Implications for healthcare and non-healthcare settings

The implications of tourniquet application extend beyond just healthcare settings, reaching into places of work, schools, and public spaces where accidents might occur.

Case studies and clinical recommendations

Case studies from civilian and military records underscore the effectiveness of timely tourniquet use. For instance, during the Boston Marathon bombing, tourniquets applied at the scene were credited with preventing further loss of life.


Tourniquets are a vital first aid component that can save lives in critical situations. However, their effectiveness is heavily dependent on proper knowledge and training. At The Mandatory Training Group, we provide comprehensive training on the safe and effective use of tourniquets as part of our first aid courses, ensuring that you are prepared to act confidently and competently during emergencies.

Don’t wait for an emergency to happen. Click here to enrol in our first aid training courses and qualifications today and empower yourself with the skills necessary to make a critical difference when it matters most. Join us in our mission to save lives and foster a safer environment for everyone.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Dr Richard Dune

With over 20 years of experience, Richard blends a rich background in NHS, the private sector, academia, and research settings. His forte lies in clinical R&D, advancing healthcare tech, workforce development and governance. His leadership ensures regulatory compliance and innovation align seamlessly.

The critical role of tourniquets in first aid - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

Contact us

Just added to your wishlist:
My Wishlist
You've just added this product to the cart:
Go to Basket




Sold Out