What is "BLS", anyway? And is it the CPR class I need to take?

What is BLS?

BLS stands for "Basic Life Support", and is the standard-level CPR course for most professionals in the healthcare environment. This can range from emergency room staff to in-home adult caregivers. While these environments may be different in terms of the equipment and personnel available, the CPR basics we cover in the American Heart Association BLS class are applicable to all circumstances. Basic Life Support means just that - we cover the basic CPR skills of compressions, breathing, and AED use, for both one-rescuer and multi-rescuer situations. Modifications to these procedures that are not covered in lay rescuer CPR training include administering pulse checks, using bag valve masks (BVMs), CPR in the presence of an advanced airway, and addressing the various issues having to do with team dynamics.

BLS Provider Course Outline

Here's a brief outline of a BLS class session:

1. 1-Rescuer Adult BLS

  1. Adult Chain of Survival

  2. Scene Safety and Assessment

  3. Adult Compressions

  4. Pocket Mask

  5. 1-Rescuer Adult BLS

2. AED and Bag-Mask Device

3. 2-Rescuer Adult BLS

4. Team Dynamics

5. Child BLS

  1. Pediatric Chain of Survival

  2. Child BLS

  3. 2-Rescuer Child CPR

6. Infant BLS

  1. Infant BLS

  2. Infant Compressions

  3. Bag-Mask Device for Infants

  4. 2-Rescuer Infant BLS

  5. AED for Infants and Children

7. Special Considerations

  1. Mouth-to-Mouth Breaths

  2. Rescue Breathing

  3. Breaths with an Advanced Airway

  4. Opioid-Associated Life-Threatening Emergency

8. Adult and Child Choking

9. Infant Choking