How to save lives using a
C-A-T tourniquet

The Combat Application Tourniquet (C-A-T) was developed by the U.S. military to provide soldiers with a small and effective tourniquet in field combat situations. The unit utilizes a windlass rod with a locking mechanism and can be self-applied. Due to its effectiveness, the C-A-T has been adopted by military and emergency personnel all over the world.

The C-A-T is a true one-handed tourniquet, proven to be 100% effective by the U.S. Army’s Institute of Surgical Research. Tests prove that the C-A-T completely occludes an extremity blood flow in the event of a traumatic wound with significant hemorrhage.









US troops deployed to hot war zones around the globe, like Iraq and Afghanistan, wear the C-A-T on their limbs, ready to activate in case of a massive bleeding injury, caused by an encounter with hostiles or an IED.

Click the image below to watch the video:
How to Use the C-A-T Tourniquet








When should we actually use the C-A-T?
Even though the tourniquet is a life saver, it’s also a last resort since using it will completely cut the blood circulation to the limb – after about 111 minutes there’s a much higher chance of losing that limb.

Before using the C-A-T, we need to try and stop the bleeding by applying direct pressure to the wound – you can use either a gauze or a triangular bandage (the Israeli bandage works great in most cases). But if the bleeding is too massive and continues despite that, you’ll have to make a judgement call and may need to resort to using the tourniquet.

How to apply the C-A-T to an arm:

  1. Place the tourniquet on bare skin, about 3-4 inches above the wound, but NOT on a joint – make sure that the end of the strap goes toward the front-center of the body (the rod should be placed so you can easily reach it).
  2. Tighten the C-A-T by pulling the strap as much as possible.
  3. Turn the windlass rod until the bleeding completely stops.
  4. Place the rod into the bracket and close it’s strap.
  5. Write the exact time and date that the C-A-T was applied – use either a marker or, if you don’t have one, use some blood from the casualty. Write T on their forehead, and if you have a marker, you can add the time next to the T.

How to apply the C-A-T to a leg:
Follow the same instructions as the arm, but make sure the strap’s end goes outwards from the body (the rod should be placed so you can easily reach it), so the other leg won’t be an obstacle.


  1. Use the C-A-T only if all other methods to stop the bleeding had failed!
  2. Place the C-A-T about 4 inches above the wound, but NOT on a joint.
  3. After applying the C-A-T, do NOT release it, unless instructed to do so by a medical professional.
  4. Write down the time and date of application on the C-A-T and mark the casualty’s forehead with a T (add the time of application next to it, if possible).
  5. Place the casualty in the recovery position in order to stabilize their pose – on their side with their top hand supporting underneath the head, and their top leg bent at 90 degrees, to support the rest of the body. 
  6. Call for help as soon as possible after applying the C-A-T, or ask someone else to do so during the application of the C-A-T.
  7. NEVER use the C-A-T on the neck area as it will choke the casualty – this may sound obvious, but it happens more often than you’d think.

How to fold the C-A-T for EDC carry:

  1. Adjust the the loop so it’s twice as long as the windlass rod
  2. Close the strap so its end reaches the brackets
  3. Fold the C-A-T in half so it fits snugly in your med-kit

To Sum Up:
The C-A-T is a proven, 100% effective self-applying tourniquet, and has saved countless lives all over the world. Make sure each person in your team has a C-A-T in their EDC first aid kit and take a few minutes to practice applying it as soon as possible (don’t tighten it completely when practicing), since you don’t want your first time using it to be during an emergency. Use the C-A-T as a last resort only if you can’t stop the bleeding in any other way. As soon as you apply the C-A-T, write the time and date and call for help. Always remember that being prepared saves lives!

Do YOU and your team have a C-A-T in your EDC first aid kit?
Visit our shop today and easily acquire the C-A-T – using our amazon affiliate links helps us a lot. Thanks in advance!

Click here to get our recommended C-A-T:

Coming up:
Have you ever heard of climbing a tree to escape a bear attack? Maybe rubbing your hands together for warmth when it’s cold? Jumping into a lake to escape from bees or even sucking the venom out of a snake bite – there are plenty of survival myths that we grew up on or saw in movies or tv shows, that are totally wrong and even dangerous. In the next post we’ll talk about 5 popular survival myths that just might kill you!

I can’t wait to share all of this with you,

So until then – Stay Safe!!

Your friend always,

Roy Shepard

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