TSA tourniquet saves life

Monday, June 08, 2020
Todd and Alissa Andrews

When TSA Security Specialist Todd Andrews received a tourniquet during a training course in Glynco, Georgia, it came with a solemn warning – one day, you might need it.

Months later, Todd was clearing brush on a property in Oklahoma with his wife Alissa. Todd was using a weed eater with a special blade attachment for cutting thicker brush and small trees. As Todd worked on felling a small tree, the blade caught on something hard and kicked back. Barely able to hold on to the weed eater, Todd turned back to look at his wife and realized that the saw cut into her leg.

NSG Tourniquet

With blood gushing from Alissa’s leg and the nearest hospital 30 miles away, Todd ran to his pickup truck looking for something – anything – that might stop the bleeding. There he discovered the tourniquet he was given in Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) training.

FACT training is provided to military and civilian employees who are assigned to a foreign country for 90 days or more in a single year. “The five-day training of FACT includes the skill sets of personal safety, surveillance, driving safely and tactical medicine,” said Federal Law Enforcement Training Center Division Chief Francisco Berrios.

“I was able to get the tourniquet on her leg in approximately two minutes, according to Alissa,” said Todd. “For me, it felt like an eternity.”

After slowing the bleeding from Alissa’s leg, Todd rushed to get her into his truck and sped to the closest hospital, calling ahead to let them know about the emergency.

A nurse met them outside with a wheelchair to bring Alissa into the emergency room. When the doctor saw the tourniquet, he asked Alissa, “Where did you get a tourniquet like that?” When she responded it had been her husband’s, who works for DHS, the doctor replied, “That figures.”

Weed eater and blade

The gash in Alissa’s calf required three layers of stitches; both Alissa and Todd lost count of the individual stitches as they went in. The gash was 3 ½ inches wide and 1 ½ inches deep but didn’t cause any permanent damage to the tendons and ligaments in Alissa’s calf.

“I have to say this – my wife is the toughest person I know,” said Todd. “She was the one that kept me from losing it the entire time. I prayed the entire time and still pray now.” The night before the accident, Alissa felt that Todd’s father, from whom the couple bought the Oklahoma property, was watching over them.

The experience has had a huge impact on Todd. “I really thought I might lose her, and it shook me to the core,” said Todd. “I have a new perspective on life and what is important and what is not.”