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. However, this description only provides a limited answer to the question "What is Basic Life Support?"

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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 BLS/CPR for Healthcare. Or, for a deeper dive into what BLS is, you can review our BLS Handbook.

American Red Cross Basic Life Support classes are developed under the guidance of, and reviewed by, the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. Created with the latest information available, our BLS classes allow you to learn the life-saving techniques and can help prepare you for a career in the medical industry, as a police officer or firefighter, lifeguard, 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 courses – and get the best of both worlds. When you choose our innovative blended learning program, you'll have the opportunity to take American Red Cross BLS online courses, and 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.

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or Call 1-800-REDCROSS