The combat application tourniquet – that small, issue item to which so many wounded troops owe their lives – is getting an upgrade.

The Generation 7 Combat Application Tourniquet will soon be coming to an Individual First Aid Kit near you, the Army Medical Materiel Agency announced this week.

The older version – Generation 6 – will continue to be fielded, but soldiers should familiarize themselves with both, said AMMA nurse consultant Jason Harrington.

“When you need to actually use a tourniquet is the wrong time to figure out which version you have and how to use it,” he said in a statement. “Soldiers need to look at their tourniquets and become familiar with the version they have been issued by carefully reading the printed instructions that come with each CAT.”

Both versions of the tourniquet are already in use in the field, but the Army is working to get the word out to deployed soldiers about the updated version so they know how to use it if needed.

Like the Army, the Marine Corps started fielding the Generation 7 tourniquet this year.

The two versions look very similar, except the Generation 7 has a gray fastener strap, compared with a white one on the Generation 6. The newer model also has its lot number and “G7” visible on the device and through the manufacturer’s packaging.

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