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When dealing with any traumatic injury, uncontrolled bleeding is the enemy. If the injury is severe, there's a substantial chance that rapid blood loss will cause death before first-responders even make it to the scene. This is why we've previously advocated including tourniquets in your emergency kits, and seeking basic trauma care training through programs such as Stop the Bleed. A properly-applied tourniquet has been repeatedly proven to stop blood loss and save lives.
Under normal circumstances, carrying a tourniquet is often as easy as placing it in a pocket or inside a backpack, but certain activities may make carrying TQs a challenge. Aquatic sports such as surfing, kayaking, diving, and jet-skiing all pose a risk of injury from various sources — shark attacks, coral reefs, broken bones, or a misplaced cut with a sharp dive knife can lead to sudden blood loss.
However, these activities can also make carrying a tourniquet difficult. Water — especially salt water — can degrade a standard tourniquet over time. Additionally, tourniquets in pockets can easily be lost while swimming. These concerns led Carson Henderson, a U.S. military veteran and avid surfer, to develop the OMNA amphibious tourniquet.
The OMNA tourniquet is made for salt water, corrosion-resistant, and wearable in the form of a bracelet/anklet. It also offers an optional leash for surfboards or body boards, effectively replacing the ubiquitous leash with a dual-purpose life-saving device. MSRP for these devices starts at $30.
Henderson realized that some surfers might wonder about the effectiveness of improvised tourniquets compared to the OMNA, so he had the device independently tested under a Doppler Ultrasound. The results (click here for a PDF) were compared to fashioning an improvised TQ with a 7mm surf leash, and it became clear that the standard leash could not fully occlude blood flow. While an improvised TQ is better than nothing, its results cannot compare to a purpose-built medical device like the OMNA.
If you often find yourself on, in, or around the water, it's definitely worth considering what you'd do if you (or someone else in your group) experienced a serious injury. The OMNA wearable TQ provides an amphibious option for water sport enthusiasts, maritime professionals, and members of the military. For more information on OMNA products, go to OMNAinc.com.