What is BLS?
Basic Life Support, or BLS, generally refers to the type of care that first-responders, healthcare providers and public safety professionals provide to anyone who is experiencing cardiac arrest, respiratory distress or an obstructed airway. It requires knowledge and skills in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), using automated external defibrillators (AED) and relieving airway obstructions in patients of every age.
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- In addition to the physical skills necessary for providing BLS care to those in need, those working in basic life support also need to have critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, and be able to work as part of a team to deliver the best care possible and improve patient outcomes.
- To learn more about the specific classes that are part of our BLS program, visit the BLS/CPR page. Or, for a deeper dive into what BLS is, you can purchase and review our Basic Life Support Participant's Manual from the Red Cross Store.
- American Red Cross Basic Life Support classes are developed under the guidance of, and reviewed by, the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. Content in this program is consistent with:
- The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) 2015–2018 International Consensus on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care Science with Treatment Recommendations.
- The 2015–2018 American Heart Association Guidelines Update for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care.
- Created with the latest information available, our BLS classes allow you to learn life-saving techniques and can help prepare you for a career in the medical field, as a police officer or firefighter or another career where caring for others is part of the job.
- With the American Red Cross, you can take a variety of in-person and online BLS safety training courses – and get the best of both worlds. When you choose our innovative blended learning program, you'll not only receive online lecture material, but you'll also participate in interactive scenarios that allow you to improve your clinical decision-making skills. Once the course is complete, you'll participate in in-person skills sessions. This way, you can learn at your own pace and hone your skills with an instructor in a group setting.
Of course, as professionals, we know how important it is to not only get the training you need, but to do so as efficiently as possible, which is why our BLS blended learning courses also include adaptive learning functionality, which allows you to receive personalized, focused courses. By completing an optional pre-assessment for each lesson, you'll not only receive an independent learning path, but depending on the results of the pre-assessment, you'll also have the opportunity to test out of a lesson, or test out of specific topics within a lesson – which can reduce the overall amount of time spent in class.