BLS vs. BCLS | Red Cross (2024)

  • What is BLS?

    BLS, or Basic Life Support, is a set of life-saving medical procedures performed in the early stages of an emergency. These resuscitation techniques are generally administered by a first responder, healthcare provider, or any individual on the scene who has basic medical training. The goal is to simply maintain the life functions of a person who is having a medical emergency, like cardiac arrest or respiratory failure, until more advanced medical care can be provided.

    What is BCLS?

    BLS is sometimes referred to as BCLS, or Basic Cardiac Life Support, by organizations other than the American Red Cross that provide basic life support training.

    What's the Difference Between BLS and BCLS?

    BLS and BCLS certifications differ only in name. Both provide the same basic life support training to healthcare professionals and anyone else interested in learning these important life-sustaining techniques.

    What’s the Difference Between First Aid vs. BLS?

    Unlike BLS, which focuses on giving immediate care at the scene in order to stabilize and support life functions through basic techniques like CPR, rescue breaths, and/or the use of an AED Until Help Arrives, first aid courses primarily teach non-medical individuals how to respond to people experiencing various health emergencies until medical professionals arrive. First Aid classes will generally cover situations like:

    • Asthma emergencies
    • Anaphylaxis
    • Burns
    • Choking
    • Diabetic emergencies
    • Life threatening internal bleeding, external bleeding, and severe trauma
    • Environmental emergencies
    • Heart attack
    • Poisoning
    • Neck, head, and spinal injuries
    • Stroke
    • Seizure

    Why is BLS Certification Important?

    A BLS certification course allows you to learn new techniques and sharpen your skills so you can deliver care to those in need when lives are on the line and every second matters. Even if you’ve already completed a BLS course, it’s important to keep your certification active. To do that, you can register for a BLS renewal course, which is an abbreviated version of the instructor-led course. To be eligible, your American Red Cross BLS certification must be current or expired by no more than 30 days

    Who Needs BLS Certification?

    BLS certification is designed for healthcare professionals and first responders, although anyone interested in obtaining these life-saving skills will benefit. BLS classes give immediate responders a mastery of lifesaving techniques and the confidence to act quickly, whether the cardiac emergency happens at work, home, at school, or out in the community.

    Where Do I Get BLS Certification?

    By choosing a comprehensive, evidence-based curriculum, your training will go beyond a cardiac focus, making it more robust. Red Cross BLS courses let you blend reading and lecture with hands-on techniques that will sharpen your skills so you can deliver care to those in need and help improve patient outcomes. Available for individuals and teams, our BLS courses are modular and flexible — and help you meet your personal goals, or your organization's standards for care.

    As part of the Red Cross BLS training program, you'll join the millions we train every year and learn the BLS skills that can save a life.

  • BLS vs. BCLS | Red Cross (2024)


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