Sixty percent of preventable deaths in military actions involve blood loss from arm and leg wounds, and Blackhawk! Products Group, Norfolk, Va., a manufacturer of tactical, military and law enforcement equipment, wants to change those statistics. Blackhawk, working with Dr. Keith Rose, a tactical medical consultant who has seen action as a surgeon in combat, designed the Integrated Tourniquet System (I.T.S.™), which integrates four tourniquets into pants and shirts. In a crisis, the tourniquets can be operated by the injured, a buddy or a medic to stop bleeding.
The tourniquets, correctly positioned where key arteries are located, can stop soldiers from bleeding out before help arrives. Prototypes of the system have gone to users, and Blackhawk incorporated customer input into its final product. The immediate availability of a tourniquet that can be applied by nonmedical personnel will “dramatically impact not only loss of life, but also the amount of time that it takes to recover from extremity loss injuries,” says Rose.