The acronym BLS stands for Basic Life Support and refers to a quick training course on emergency response skills. BLS training is a standard job requirement in some careers, including primary healthcare professions, public safety jobs, volunteer roles, sports training roles, and the teaching profession.
Some of the posts in which BLS training is a prerequisite include doctors, nurses, clinical officers, paramedics, lifeguards, coaches, orderlies, firefighters, lab technicians, ambulance drivers, the police, and daycare givers.
However, it need not be a compulsory job requirement for you to attend a BLS class. The course equips you with practical life-saving skills, which can prove indispensable in any number of emergencies. By being able to perform CPR on a victim, you end up eliminating the 7% decrease in life expectancy that occurs with every minute of delay.
Attending BLS classes grant you the ability to save a life, which is something far beyond the resources you end up committing. The same reasoning applies to corporate bodies that can opt to have their employees enroll for CPR certification. The essential life-saving skills that you acquire from BLS training are discussed in the next section.
Core Life-Saving Skills
There are mostly two core life-saving skills that are taught as part of a BLS course. The two skills are mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and CPR. These two skills are taught as a package because, in emergency scenarios, both are indispensable. Most BLS classes train participants on how to effectively apply both skills in unison.
This training is usually carried out with the aid of anatomical dummy torsos of varying sizes. The dummies vary in correspondence to the diverse body sizes of infants, teenagers, and adults. The nature of first-aid training for the two life-saving skills is briefly discussed below.
1. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation refers to a procedure that has the first-aid giver forcing air into the victim’s lungs as an attempt to restart breathing. By use of an anatomically correct medical dummy torso, the trainee is first shown how to tilt a victim’s head to clear the air passage.
The next step involves placing the freehand on the victim’s forehead and pinching the nose with the fingers. The final phase has the trainee using their mouths to pass breath from their lungs into the victim’s lungs. The basic life support class trainer usually repeats the entire procedure three to four times to ensure the trainee can competently give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
The popular acronym CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. While attending a BLS class, the trainee is taught how to use chest compressions to re-initiate a victim’s heartbeat.
A typical CPR class usually begins with a full-size dummy lying on a firm surface. The trainee is then instructed to place their left hand over the left-hand side of the victim’s chest. This would be just over the shirt in an adult male and slightly below the left breast in a female. The next step has the trainee placing their right hand over the left one palm facing downwards. What follows is the interlocking of the fingers and the trainee leaning slightly forward towards the victim’s chest.
The next and most critical stage of CPR has the trainee pressing down on the victim’s chest firmly for about 2 seconds. The trainee then relieves pressure over the chest without removing the hands. Instructors usually have trainees repeat the above procedure 100 times for three and a half minutes. This occurs because the recommended rate of chest compressions in CPR is 30 compressions per minute.
Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and CPR skills enable an individual to revive, resuscitate, and sustain a victim. A person with BLS certification is capable of providing help to a victim of a hit and run, cardiac arrest, drowning, smoke inhalation, epileptic seizures, and myriad other emergency scenarios. It is worth noting that medical doctors recommend that first-aid givers limit their efforts to CPR alone if they happen to be uncomfortable with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.