Orange County EMS Urges Citizens to Check Emergency Kit Tourniquets

Some devices that are used by emergency responders in life-threatening situations may be counterfeit.

The use of tourniquets by first responders across the country has grown in recent years but now scammers have been selling counterfeit brand-name tourniquets. And the counterfeits are showing up in the United States, according to a recent CBS News investigation.

“The tourniquets are used by our EMS staff and also our law enforcement staff, to include the university public safety,” says Orange County Emergency Services Director Jim Groves. “If something goes wrong with the officer they can have some self protection.

“But they really came into fruition with our active-assailant planning.”

The tourniquets are used as a compression device to control the flow of blood to a specific area of a victim who suffered a traumatic injury.

Groves says tactics have changed in recent years on how to respond to situations where a large number of victims are in a life-threatening incident and use of tourniquets has grown rapidly.

“A lot of the data comes over from our war activity,” he says, “and fighting over in the Middle East.

“They save a lot of soldiers’ lives just by stopping the bleeding.”

It appears the counterfeit tourniquets are being sold through secondary online markets, including e-bay and Amazon. Groves says Orange County Emergency Services purchases tourniquets directly from a reputable manufacturer.

“It’s a very robust tourniquet,” he says. “It’s actually got a metal bar, if you will, versus a plastic or synthetic type of bar.”

Groves adds the devices are “not cheap” and some departments that have faced budget cuts may be looking to save money with the cheaper alternatives.

It is not only first responders that purchase tourniquets. Citizens are allowed to own the potentially life-saving devices for emergency kits. Groves says hunters are a large segment of civilian purchasers.

Groves says, while the emergency services department purchased its tourniquets from the manufacturer, a message has been passed along to everyone in the department to encourage them to ensure any additional devices purchased individually are legitimate.

He says citizens should go through the proper channels of purchasing.

“My suggestion would be, if they choose to do that, to go directly from the manufacturer,” he says, “and not go through a second or third party. Because they can’t guarantee the authenticity of what the device is.

“It’s going to cost you a couple of extra bucks, but you’re going to know it’s going to work when you need it.”

In a joint press release, North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and state Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin say none of the fake devices have been found in North Carolina at this time. Secretary of State Marshall requests anyone in North Carolina finding a counterfeit tourniquet call her Department’s Trademark Tipline with details so that state law enforcement agents can pursue the matter.

Final Four Moves To Cable

CHAPEL HILL – The men’s basketball Final Four is moving to cable.

Beginning next season (2013-2014), TBS will be the only carrier of the Final Four while CBS will host the national championship on its airwaves. However, in 2016 the two networks will begin alternating the title game in an agreement made through 2024.

In 2010, a 14-year broadcast agreement was signed between CBS Sports and Turner Sports. This amendment comes on the heels of the most-watched NCAA tournament in 19 years. According to Nielsen, 10.7 million people watched this year’s tournament, which is 11 percent more than in 2012.