What is Basic Life Support Certification? (BLS)

Basic life support (BLS) provides rapid medical support to people who need immediate life-saving medical interventions.

BLS does not provide all the essential medical needs a patient requires to keep them alive long-term.

However, it does enable professionals to revive, resuscitate and extend a patient’s life.

BLS keeps patients’ vital organs healthy until they receive advanced support at a hospital or healthcare facility.

Most healthcare professionals and trained individuals can perform basic life support with or without medical equipment.

However, some medical supplies and tools are helpful when performing BLS.

It includes automated external defibrillators (AEDs), breathing apparatuses, first aid kits, and BLS support kits.

Most Importantly, certified BLS individuals learn to stimulate breathing manually by utilizing CPR.

It provides supplemental oxygen to a person’s lungs, significantly increasing short-term survivability.

What About ACLS?

Those trained in BLS may also use advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) to provide further medical care.

It helps healthcare specialists revive, resuscitate, and extend a person’s life.

ACLS is more complex than basic life support, and numerous courses specialize in specific healthcare domains.

For instance, ACLS, PALS, and PEARS courses accommodate different patients.

Advanced cardiac life support focuses on using advanced medical equipment and procedures in emergency care settings.

As a result, healthcare professionals like paramedics, ICU nurses, and respiratory therapists perform ACLS procedures.

Those who do not work in critical/emergency care may not obtain ACLS certification if it isn’t needed.

Nevertheless, it is highly beneficial for many healthcare workers and enables them to broaden their medical capabilities.

Non-Healthcare Specialists and BLS

In addition to medical professionals, individuals in careers that may experience emergencies obtain BLS certification.

It includes firefighters, police officers, lifeguards, school bus drivers, flight attendants, and other professionals.

Besides that, ordinary citizens can obtain BLS certification to perform life-saving procedures properly.

When is Basic Life Support Necessary

There are many situations when BLS is necessary to assist people in life-threatening circumstances.

For instance, lifeguards may use basic life support to revive a swimmer.

They will clear the swimmer’s air passage of water and manually force oxygen through the lungs to assist with breathing.

A person may also perform BLS on individuals suffering from hypothermia, cardiac arrests, strokes, or heart attacks.

BLS’s process and procedures may vary from one country to another.

However, CAB is one of the most commonly known and used BLS methods.

CAB stands for circulation, airway, and breathing.

It forms the basis of most BLS programs.

  • Circulation – Circulation provides adequate blood flow through the body tissue and vital organs.
  • Airway – The airway focuses on ensuring that the victim’s lungs and airway passage are clear of objects and obstructions that may prevent them from receiving sufficient oxygen.
  • Breathing – focuses on the respiratory system and ensuring the victim’s lungs are working properly to take in and expel oxygen. Think of inflating and deflating the lungs.

How to Obtain Basic Life Support Certification

You can learn more about the BLS certification program and obtain further information through various online resources.

The most common resources include the American Heart Association, Red Cross, and the American Medical Association.

These websites provide the necessary information for the BLS training and certification program.

You may also want to check with your local library, college, or hospital.

They can provide additional information related to the program and possible training and educational resources.

The BLS certification program is relatively short.

It may be required if you’re already working for a healthcare organization.

However, even if you aren’t working in the healthcare industry, you can still choose to take the exam independently.

You’ll learn how to provide basic life support during the BLS certification program.

It includes CPR, safely clearing airway passages, using an AED device, and other life-saving techniques.

Certification in BLS training helps you extend a person’s life until they receive advanced life support and medical care.

Is BLS the Same as CPR?

CPR, or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, is one component of basic life support.

BLS provides more extensive training to enable individuals to perform various life-saving procedures.

It includes CPR, using AEDs, effective ventilations using a barrier device, and other standard life-saving approaches, 

Contrarily, CPR focuses mainly on breathing and chest compression techniques.

It doesn’t include education on AEDs or other BLS components.

It takes approximately 4.5 hours to get BLS certified and 30 – 90 minutes to get CPR certified.

Who Can Get BLS Certified?

BLS certification is available to anyone interested in learning basic life support techniques.

In many cases, healthcare professionals and those who operate in hazardous settings learn BLS.

It enables them to provide proper care to patients, workers, and individuals requiring basic life support.

Nonetheless, anyone can learn basic life support through a training institute or educational setting.

Where Can I Get BLS Certification?

BLS certification is offered through numerous online websites.

It includes the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, National CPR Foundation, and other established websites.

Individuals can also obtain BLS certification through local schools, training institutes, and hospitals.

The most effective way to find CPR certification training near you is to perform a local Google search.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to ensure the BLS training program is accredited/accepted to obtain certification.

How Long is BLS Certification Good For?

BLS certification is valid for approximately two years or 24 months from your certificate date.

That said, you must check with your BLS training program to determine the length of validation.

Individuals and healthcare professionals with BLS certification must renew every 24 months or risk their BLS credentials.

What About BLS Recertification?

BLS certification holders must recertify their certificates every two years to keep them valid.

It takes approximately 3 hours to complete recertification, and individuals may take the recertification online or in person.

It enables them to remain updated on procedures and ensures they still know how to perform basic life support effectively.

Individuals and healthcare professionals who do not obtain BLS recertification on time must retake the entire BLS course.