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Is BLS the Same as CPR?
Basic Life Support (BLS) includes the action of CPR but is an overall higher level of medical care, typically administered by public safety professionals, first responders, paramedics, healthcare providers, and qualified bystanders. So no, CPR and BLS are not the same.
What is CPR?
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a medical procedure involving the repeated compression of a patient’s chest. Performing CPR is an attempt to restore the blood circulation to the heart and brain. CPR consists of chest compressions combined with artificial ventilation to preserve brain function. This means that you will be breathing and making the heart beat for the unconscious person.
CPR should only be performed in emergencies and when there are no medical personnel nearby who can do it. Additionally, you should only perform CPR if you have been trained and know how to do it correctly. If done incorrectly, you can do more harm than good to the unconscious person.
What Steps Should I Know Before Performing CPR?
Even if you know how to properly perform CPR on an unconscious person, there are steps you must take before administering CPR. If these precautions are not taken, you could end up injuring yourself or becoming unconscious as well. There are four steps:
- Check the scene and the person – Even before approaching the unconscious person, you should always assess the situation first. If the person was electrocuted, the hazard may not be obvious. If you approach before discovering the cause, you may get electrocuted too. After assessing the scene, check the person. Tap their shoulder and ask them if they are okay. By doing this, you will be giving that person plenty of time and reason to wake up or talk to you. If neither happens, then that person does actually need your help.
- Call 911 for assistance – If it is clear that help is needed, call 911 or, if there is someone else around, ask them to call. It is also important at this point to send someone to go get an AED. If there is no AED available, stay with the victim and prepare to give assistance.
- Open the airway – If you can, position the person on their back, lightly tilt the head backwards and lift the chin. In doing so, you are opening up their airway and helping them to breathe easier.
- Check for breathing – Listen carefully for sounds of breathing. It is important to note that occasional gasps are not considered breathing. You should also know that you don’t want to be checking for more than 10 seconds because if they are not breathing, time is something you will not have.
Once you have assessed the situation, you will have a better understanding of what happened and how you can help. After taking these four steps, it is time to officially start administering CPR. Here’s how to begin:
- Begin chest compressions – To begin chest compressions, you must place both hands, one on top of the other, on the center of the victim’s chest. Then, begin pushing hard and pushing fast. Use your body weight to help administer compressions. Each compression must be at least two inches deep. In order to keep the victim’s blood flowing, compressions must be delivered at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute.
- Deliver rescue breaths – Depending on what association you have trained with, they may not teach you or require you to do this part. If you are required to do this, then blow into the person’s mouth and ensure that their chest is rising. Do this twice before continuing chest compressions.
- Continue CPR steps – Continue with cycles of chest compression and breathing until the person starts breathing on their own or an AED becomes available. You should also stop if an EMS or trained medical professional arrives and takes over.
What is BLS?
Basic Life Support, or BLS, generally refers to the type of care that healthcare providers give to anyone who is experiencing cardiac arrest, respiratory distress, or who has an obstructed airway. The purpose of BLS is to maintain sufficient blood circulation and breathing through an open airway.
BLS requires you to recognize signs of sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack, stroke, and foreign-body airway obstructions. It also requires you to know how to properly administer CPR, use an AED, and relieve choking safely and effectively.
While CPR is the action of chest compressions and rescue breaths, BLS uses CPR along with other lifesaving techniques to give the unconscious person the best chance of survival.
BLS Procedure Steps
There are five important steps to follow when it comes to performing BLS. They are as follows:
- Scene safety – Before using BLS on a collapsed victim of sudden cardiac arrest, you must ensure that the surrounding areas are safe for you, the victim, and any bystanders.
- Check responsiveness – Tap and talk to the victim, if there is no response from the victim, you must request help from a bystander and/or call 911.
- Assess breathing – Check to see if the victim is breathing, then take 10 seconds to check their pulse. If the pulse and breathing are stable, stay with the person and monitor them until medical help arrives.
- Abnormal breathing – If the victim is breathing abnormally, you should begin rescue breaths. The ratio should be one breath every five seconds. Continue to give rescue breaths and check their pulse every ten seconds. If the pulse stops or is not present when you first check it, begin CPR.
- No breathing or pulse – If the victim is not breathing or has no pulse, you should immediately begin CPR. The ratio for chest compressions are 30 chest compressions and then two rescue breaths. Make sure you are checking the pulse every ten seconds. If an AED is available, use it.
BLS Courses, Classes, & Certification
Each BLS class will teach you the basic skills you will need to know when it comes to performing life-saving techniques on an unresponsive victim. These basic skills include:
- Single rescuer CPR
- Team-based CPR
- Choking relief
- AED operations on adults, children, and infants
Similar to CPR certification requirements, BLS certification requires you to receive hands-on experience before being able to successfully complete the course. Taking an in-person instructive class will get you your certificate faster and more efficiently than an online learning course.
In-person classes will consist of interactive videos, lectures, and hands-on skills practices. Just like any learning environment, BLS classes provide you with the equipment you will need when it comes to learning how to perform BLS. Most BLS classes take anywhere from two to four hours, depending on who you take them through.
Who Needs to Know Basic Life Support?
Medical professionals and healthcare providers are required to have a basic life support certification. There are even some jobs outside of the medical industry that are required to have the certification as a part of their job. For example:
- Bus drivers
- Police officers
What Does OSHA Require in Regards to Training?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have any specific requirements in regards to BLS. However, they do require employers to train their employees in basic first aid in case of an accident. They also strongly recommend that at least one person in the workplace is CPR certified.
Ultimately, it is up to your employer to determine whether you will need to take and successfully complete a BLS safety training class and receive your certification.
At the end of the day, safety training should be accessible and convenient. That’s why, here at Hard Hat Training, we offer a selection of training methods so that you can choose the most convenient one for your employees.
Here at Hard Hat Training, our goal is to make safety training easy and affordable. Our training materials are frequently updated, enabling us to offer the most thorough, up-to-date, and easy-to-use training options on the market today.
OSHA Aligned Courses
All of our courses comply with OSHA Requirements and contain all of the necessary safety information related to the specific training topic. Our learning development and quality assurance teams spend hours researching so that we can provide companies with the best and most vital information!
Our CPR Courses
Our course catalog presents companies with over 200 training topics to choose from, and each course is designed specifically to keep the students’ minds engaged. We offer many ways to accomplish safety training, each option being easy, affordable, and convenient. Our CPR Online Course (includes AED) is OSHA Aligned and also adheres to the American Heart Association standards. The topics you can expect to cover in this course are:
- First aid preparedness
- Recognizing hazards
- Preventing accidents
- First aid kits
- Assessing the situation
- Calling for help
- CPR skills
- AED information
We also offer first aid courses that are more specific and aligned with certain industry standards: