The Basic Life Support Certification or BLS is a level of care designed by the American Heart Association to be performed on a person in cardiac arrest or that has stopped breathing. These life-saving techniques can be performed without medical equipment and are intended to help people with life-threatening injuries to survive until they can receive full medical treatment in a hospital or an emergency clinic. BLS is easy to learn and is used to rescue infants, children and adults experiencing a cessation of breathing and heartbeat due to:
- Cardiac Arrest
- Near Drowning
- Head Injuries
- Work Related Injuries
- Choking on Food
- Life-Threatening Allergic Reactions
- Bleeding from a Serious Laceration
- Injuries from a Serious Fall
- Post Surgical Complications
- Medication Related Reactions
- Respiratory Arrest
What Occupations and Careers Require BLS Certification?
Most healthcare providers that work in a hospital or an emergency field setting are required to be BLS certified, but some non-medical people may be expected to be certified for high risk jobs or those who are responsible for infants, children, and the elderly or other vulnerable populations. Healthcare providers in a hospital, clinic or skilled nursing facility are required to be certified in BLS CPR and are expected to be able to stabilize a patient in an emergency situation. Family members that care for their elderly parents, grandparents or infant children are also encouraged to acquire a BLS certification in case of an emergency that occurs in the home. American Heart Association BLS for healthcare providers includes:
- Emergency Medical Technicians
- Firemen and Policemen
- Nurses and Nurses Aids
- Physical and Respiratory Therapists
- Teachers, Coaches and Educational Staff
- Hazardous Duty Workers
- Preschool Workers and Professional Babysitters
The Steps of BLS CPR
If you witness an adult collapse or find them unconscious, the BLS training steps tell you to shake the victim and shout out their name. If they do not respond, it is imperative that you start CPR immediately. Position the victim carefully due to the possibility of a neck or spinal injury and move them onto their back without bending or twisting their body. Position yourself near the victim’s chest.
Circulate the Blood with Chest Compressions
If the victim is an adult, place the palm of the hand in the center of the breastbone and below the nipples. Place your other hand over that hand and entwine your fingers to keep them from pressing on the chest. Keeping your back and arms straight, push your weight off your knees and compress the chest at 1/3 to ½ the depth of the victim’s chest. Deliver 30 chest compressions quickly and without interruption.
Deliver Two Rescue Breaths per BLS Training
Place one hand on the forehead and gently tilt the head back to open the airway. Take your index finger and thumb of the other hand and carefully pull the jaw forward. Place your face near the victim’s airway and feel for any movement of air or breathing. If the victim is not breathing, make a tight seal over the victim’s mouth with your mouth and deliver a quick breath until the chest rises and falls. If the chest does not expand, reposition the airway and try to ventilate the victim again. After two rescue breaths, return to the 30 chest compressions and continue to alternate with two rescue breaths. Continue CPR until the victim awakens or the emergency medical responders take over.
Where can I Acquire a Basic Life Support Certification?