Why All Police Officers Should Be Trained on the Important Use of Tourniquets?

National Police Training
May 17, 2013 — 2,064 views  
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In some circles, the use of tourniquets by the EMS (Emergency Medical Services) and the law enforcement agencies have been condemned as being ineffective due to its limited scope. But regardless of these opinions, it is a fact that these devices have been used to save lives in the city streets and battlefields. They have been responsible for saving many lives that would have otherwise perished. So, providing training to all police officers about the correct usage of these tourniquets will definitely prepare them for a situation in which one of them, or a citizen, has been shot or injured in some way.

Tourniquet Design and Use

There are defined protocols in place to provide a rational and safe way for EMS and the police to put the tourniquet to use, such that blood loss and the rate of extreme trauma is minimized along with lesser complications. Based on civilian and military experience, these tourniquets allow pressure to be applied uniformly with the help of wide straps, which are comfortable and easy to put on and remove.

The tightness required depends on the severity of the bleeding, and whether there is ‘venous’ or ‘arterial’ bleeding. For venous bleeding, lower pressure is sufficient, while arterial bleeding requires the pressure applied by the tourniquet to be above arterial pressure. It has to be slowly tightened until the hemorrhage completely ceases. This pressure has to be frequently reassessed as the patient's resuscitation proceeds and further pressure may be applied as required.

Importance of Training Police Officers

The nature of work for police officers often put them at a higher risk of sustaining a stab wound or a gunshot to the extremities of their body. Loss of arterial blood can cause the officer to become unconscious in a matter of a few minutes and can result in death after a while, if not handled properly, in order to control the bleeding. Training officers to use these tourniquets and making it mandatory for them to carry a few pieces of the tourniquet will help the police officer to be prepared for when they themselves or their colleagues need emergency care after being injured in a shootout.

It is also possible that a police officer is the first one to arrive at a scene of a crime or accident, and the emergency response medical team is delayed due to some reason. In cases like these, police officers who are carrying around these tourniquets can help to provide initial treatment and prevent excessive bleeding. This simple training can help save the lives of those victims and reduce the damage that could be caused by excessive hemorrhaging. These specialized tourniquets, developed by the military, can be applied by one hand, and will allow the injured officer or the crime scene victim to survive at least until the emergency medical services (EMS) arrive and take over further treatment.

Tourniquets Save Lives

In the past, tourniquets were considered as dangerous tools that were the last resort in case of an emergency. This was mainly due to the risks involved when used for a long time and when the pressure to be applied cannot be easily figured out. However, recent experiences in the field have shown that the modern tourniquets are useful and safe, and they save lives. Encouraging rational and safe use of these tourniquets according to the simple protocols, and providing training to police officers will ensure that they are safely and properly used.

National Police Training