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What is BLS Recertification?

By Dave Slovak
Updated May 17, 2024
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Basic Life Support (BLS) is a type of certification required for many different occupations. As an example, any health care or medical professional is required to receive an initial certification and pass a BLS recertification course when necessary. Some people take a BLS course simply to be prepared for an emergency medical situation if one arises. The training teaches individuals how to provide medical care for people who face life-threatening medical situations until the person in danger can be transported to a medical facility. In most cases, BLS skills apply to situations when an individual needs to be stabilized until an ambulance or other medical transportation vehicle arrives to take the person to a hospital.

The requirements for BLS recertification are similar to the initial certification requirements. Individuals must receive training from licensed practitioners, typically authorized co-workers or other medical professionals. Each country has its own governing body of medical professionals that establish the certification requirements and outline proper procedures for basic treatment of life-threatening illnesses and injuries such as drowning, choking, and cardiac arrest. Most BLS courses are short, and although they often have hands-on and written exam components, can be completed in one day.

Many BLS courses teach trainees a series of procedures. A common first step is to assess the life-threatening situation and immediately call for help. Depending on the situation, the person training in BLS will then use one or more life-saving techniques to stabilize the injured person and prepare him or her for transportation to an advanced medical center.

Individuals trained in BLS are taught to check the injured person for consciousness, pulse and ability to breathe. If necessary, the trained provider will typically clear the person’s airway, deliver rescue breaths and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Techniques and strategies often vary depending on the region where the certification is offered. In some countries, a greater emphasis is placed on circulating blood to the brain, and as a result, trainees are taught to skip rescue breathing and instead provide constant chest compressions as a part of an altered CPR method. In other regions, instructors teach BLS trainees to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) when available.

There are many professions that require workers to be certified in BLS. These include medical professions, firefighting, law enforcement, life guarding and, in some cases, teaching or daycare provision. Most of these professions require workers to take BLS recertification on a frequent basis. BLS recertification guarantees that providers are trained in the most current methods and strategies and that people facing life-threatening injuries receive the proper pre-hospital care.

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