Commander Zero reminds us of the appalling number of fake tourniquets out there. Sadly, the same can be said of many emergency medical devices.
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before, but if a price on a CAT-style tourniquet seems too good to be true, it probably is. And, unlike many other counterfeit products, getting caught with one of these and having it fail when you need it is, literally, a matter of life and death.
I got a reminder about this in my email today from NAR. If you think about it, t his thing is simply injection moulded plastic and some nylon webbing. That means the barrier to entry for making a knockoff is pretty darn low. As a result, these things are all over Amazon and eBay. Yes, there are other wendors with nigh-impeccable creds selling the genuine product….but I’m just not willing to take the chance that their purchasing agent made a mistake that month and got some knockoffs from Glorious Peoples Plastic Factory No. 55 in Changzhou.
He goes on to recommend safe suppliers, where you'll pay a little more, but get a guaranteed genuine product. Some of his readers add other sources in the comments to his article. My personal preference is for the SOF-T Gen. 5 tourniquet (and its training version), because it's wider and therefore should be a little less painful for the victim, but the CAT that he recommends is just as good in practice. (I also trust and recommend Dark Angel Medical as a supplier.)
If you take first aid or emergency medical gear seriously (and I hope you do), I highly recommend clicking over to Commander Zero's place and reading the article (and its comments) in full. Also, if you keep an emergency tourniquet or three on hand (and, again, I hope you do), I strongly recommend getting a training version of the same tourniquet, so you can practice applying it without breaking open the sealed packaging of the real thing. If the first time you try to use it is when someone's bleeding to death, you won't be very good at it, and that may have tragic consequences. Remember, when the S hits the F you'll default to the level of your training - so train!
(That reminds me . . . my first-aid qualifications are way out of date. I must look into refresher courses. I wonder if it's feasible to do a basic EMS course on a part-time basis at a local college? That may be a very useful certification to have.)