While you might think that tourniquet preparation and use is simply another “tacti-cool” trend, it’s a proven lifesaver for all sorts of common scenarios. While the odds of you needing to use one to treat a gunshot wound are very low, the chances of you being a “first responder” to a serious car or another type of accident at some point are fairly high. An injury that causes an arterial bleed in an arm or leg can cause the patient to lose cognitive ability in just 20 to 40 seconds. That same bleed can cause death within just a couple of minutes.

Based on learnings from the recent conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other hot spots, conventional thinking on the value of tourniquets has done a complete 180. Proper use of one can save lots of lives.

While a tourniquet can cause damage if applied for too long (usually hours) the benefits are now considered to far outweigh the risks. Medical organizations are recommending that first aid training include tourniquet use and service members now carry them routinely.

To show you how easy it is to use one, we’ve put together a quick video. This isn’t supposed to be medical training, and you should learn the skill directly from qualified professionals, but this video will get you started. Who knows? You just might save a life one day.