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Tourniquets make comeback with American police

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In this June 3, 2014 photo, Houston police officers learn learn how to apply a tourniquet to a leg at the police academy in Houston.(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan) In this June 3, 2014 photo, Houston police officers learn learn how to apply a tourniquet to a leg at the police academy in Houston.(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

HOUSTON (AP) - One of the world's oldest and most easily used medical tools is making a comeback on American streets.

Police in many big cities are beginning to carry tourniquets after more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan showed how a simple, 20-second procedure could save lives.

The tourniquet stops bleeding by compressing limbs and squeezing blood vessels shut. It fell out of favor during the Civil War, when men lay on the battlefield for days and a tourniquet equaled amputation. Quick battlefield evacuation has changed that.

Officers in Houston and Dallas already have tourniquet kits. Boston adopted them after last year's marathon bombing. Los Angeles, New York and others are in the process of adding tourniquets to their standard equipment.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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