You’ll need two things to build a field tourniquet. First, a piece of fabric approximately 3 inches wide and long enough to wrap completely around the injured limb at least once. This could be, for example, a torn shirt sleeve or pants leg, a scarf, or a belt. Second, you’ll need something long and rigid like a stick, pen, or hairbrush handle. This item will be used to help tighten the tourniquet more effectively. If you happen to have a basic first aid kit, a triangle bandage
paired with a pen light
or a pair of trauma shears
would make great items to start with.
Once you have your supplies, the first step in applying your field tourniquet is to wrap your fabric around the limb approximately 2-4 inches above the injury. However, do NOT place the tourniquet directly on a joint. If the wound is close to a joint, place the tourniquet above the joint, closer to the heart than the injury. While wrapping, make sure the fabric lies as flat as possible against the skin to prevent nerve and muscle damage.
Once the fabric has been wrapped around the limb, the next step is to knot the two ends of the fabric together around your stick or other rigid object and begin rotating the stick. Rotating the stick will cause the fabric to twist and tighten the tourniquet.