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What Is ASHI Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification And Why Do You Need It?

How familiar are you with the term Basic Life Support or BLS?

While most people may have heard of CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation), when it comes to BLS, they are usually clueless. But how are CPR and BLS related? Is it the same or is one of the more advanced than the other? Let’s find out.

According to the American Red, BLS is the type of care provided by public safety professionals, health care providers and in some cases, qualified bystanders provided to a person experiencing life-threatening illnesses or injuries until they can be given full medical care at a hospital. Generally, BLS is provided to victims of cardiac arrest, respiratory distress or an obstructed airway. To provide the right first aid, certified professionals must be skilled in CPR using automated external defibrillators (AED) and relieving airway obstruction in victims of all ages.

In short, BLS is an advanced CPR course and certification designed for lay people, students and certified first responders and in some cases, medical personnel. Currently, the American Safety and Health Institute (ASHI) BLS certification course is available in Dubai at our Health and Safety Solutions (HSS) facility.

So who should sign up for an ASHI BLS Certification? In this blog, we will discuss more about BLS, who it is for and why it is important to get BLS certified.

Basic Life Support: Who needs it?

Sometimes, people may require immediate medical attention due to a life-threatening health condition, injuries from an unexpected accident or a deliberate attempt at taking life. Under such extreme circumstances, BLS must be provided in a timely manner by a certified caregiver to improve the victim’s survival rates until full medical help is available.

To help put things into perspective, here are some situations where the victims can be saved through BLS-

  • Cardiac arrest

When the heart fails to pump blood effectively, it causes a sudden loss of blood flow, leading to cardiac arrest. People experiencing a cardiac arrest may lose consciousness, show shortness of breath, experience chest pain, or nausea.

To resurrect a patient presenting cardiac arrest, defibrillation is the key. If a defibrillator is not available, the rescuer must keep the blood flowing by performing counted chest compressions and rescue breaths appropriate for the age to bring heart rhythm back to normal.

  • Respiratory arrest

Respiratory arrest is caused by apnea or respiratory dysfunction, leaving the victim with no measurable breathing. This often occurs in conjunction with cardiac arrest, although not always. Respiratory arrest is more common in infants and toddlers, requiring BLS. Providing high-quality rescue breathing to the victim is critical for survival.

  • Choking

Choking occurs when a foreign body obstructs the air passage. When a choking victim shows signs of severe airway obstruction such as silent cough, cyanosis or inability to breath and speak, the rescuer must intervene. On the other hand, coughing forcefully must be encouraged as it helps the person to dislodge the obstruction from their trachea on their own. In case of severe airway obstruction, anti-choking manoeuvres like abdominal thrusts must be applied to relieve the obstruction. For babies and toddlers, the manoeuvre is different.

If the victim is unresponsive, the next step is to lower the person to the ground and initiate CPR. This will help open the airways, allowing the rescuer to remove visible obstructions.

  • Drowning

For cases of drowning, rescuers perform CPR as soon as the unresponsive victim is removed from the water. Rescue breathing is the key support here. If the drowning victim was rescued by a lone rescuer, it is advised to give CPR for a short time before taking a break to call emergency medical services.

ASHI BLS Certification: Is it for you?

ASHI BLS certification courses are designed for individuals in the healthcare or professional rescuer field who need to know how to perform CPR and other basic life support manoeuvers as part of their job. Although the course is geared towards prehospital providers like paramedics, firefighters and in-facility hospital providers, anyone who is interested can take it to get certified.

ASHI BLS course focuses on preparing the participant to swiftly recognize life-threatening situations, provide proper rescue breathing, chest compressions and use early AED (automated external defibrillator) as and when necessary.

At the core of the course, trainees are taught to follow some basic high-level steps that apply to most scenarios. These are-

  • Perform a visual survey to assess for safety, draw up an initial impression of the victim and determine the need for additional resources

  • Check the victim for responsiveness. Ensure that the victim has a pulse and open the airway while simultaneously checking for breathing if he/she is unresponsive.

  • On completing the assessment, perform the basic care as required while waiting for medical backup.



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