Over the past several years, there s been an explosion of new medical treatment supplies and gear aimed at reducing mortality from combat-related injuries on the battlefield overseas and on the streets of our nation. One prime example of the leap forward in on-scene medical care are the Warrior Wear Integrated Tourniquet System Tactical Pants (ITS) manufactured by Blackhawk. While they may look like many other common styles of cargo pants at first glance, the ITS pants may revolutionize the way emergency treatment can be provided after an injury.
Due in part to advances in body armor, hemorrhage from extremity injuries ranks as the number one cause of preventable death on the battlefield. The ITS attempts to mitigate that problem and increase survivability.
The ITS pants are 100-percent cotton and machine washable, and they feature four hidden, 1"-wide, nylon-strap tourniquets. The tourniquets are pre-positioned for maximum effectiveness because the primary reason for tourniquet failure is incorrect application or location. Two of the tourniquets are located high on the thighs just below the crotch, and two more are located several inches above the cuff of the pant legs. You can raise the two lower tourniquets along with the pant leg to properly place them above a leg wound and keep the maximum amount of the limb hydrated.
You can use all four tourniquets in training and reset to allow for actual field use. The tourniquets are hidden behind a flap secured with a redundant combination of hook-and-loop fastener and snaps. After sustaining a serious injury to the legs and facing the threat of life-threatening blood loss, an officer only has to follow five simple steps:
1. Lift the flap;
2. Flip the windlass into position;
3. Pull the nylon strap tight;
4. Turn the windlass until bright-red blood flow stops; and
5. Lock the windlass in place in the Anti-Pinch Plate.
According to Blackhawk, you can perform this process in as little as 20 25 seconds, allowing you to redirect your attention to other injuries, other injured parties or back to the bad guy(s). With only a few minutes of familiarization with the pants, I was able to employ the tourniquets in about 30 seconds. By training personnel in the location and use of the tourniquets, muscle memory can be developed that will enable an operator or a medic to operate the ITS in low light or darkness. As with other tourniquet systems, officers should be thoroughly trained in the recognition of wounds and situations that require the integrated tourniquets.
There s no question the ITS is ideal for soldiers or private security details serving in high-risk overseas assignments. And although no statistics are readily available detailing the exact type, bodily location and frequency of injuries commonly experienced by domestic law enforcement officers, time is critical with severe bleeding. For example, a severed femoral artery may cause the victim to die of blood loss within four minutes. So, officers working high-risk assignments (such as SWAT) or those working rural areas where EMS response and transport is lengthy should consider this product.
The pants are currently available in black, khaki and a rip-stop, digital ACU version. Additional colors and styles have been requested by various units and are reportedly in the works.
Unlike many other duty pants today, the ITS pants don t incorporate an adjustable waist. Blackhawk s logic is simple: Adjustable waists require pants to have larger diameter thighs in order to accommodate a wider variety of body types in the same size pair of pants. This inhibits the ability to integrate an effective tourniquet system.
With a manufacturer s suggested retail price of $89, approximately double the cost of other uniform pants, some officers may feel the cost and their low odds of sustaining such an injury make the ITS pants a luxury. As with any piece of equipment, there are pros and cons to the ITS pants, but if cost is your only reason for not using them, remind yourself how much you spent on frivolous items in the last month.
Rapid treatment for life-threatening bleeding;
Can be performed one-handed; and
Standardized tourniquet location for all personnel.
Danger of cutting the tourniquet while cutting clothes to expose the wound;
Limited color and style selection.
Blackhawk Products Group
6160 Commander Pkwy
Norfolk, VA 23502
Tel. 800/694-5263, x3455