Heart attacks, strokes and other medical emergencies don’t just happen in hospitals. That’s why it’s important for professionals in a variety of settings to be trained and ready to handle a medical emergency. A basic life support (BLS) course can empower you with the specific tools you need to do this.
So how do you know if you should be certified in BLS? Though anyone can take a BLS course, the following types of professionals may be required to hold the certification – or should strongly consider it.
Most professionals in the healthcare field – from physicians to nurses to PAs and technicians – are required to be certified in BLS. In fact, many professionals in other medical settings, including nursing homes or dental offices, may also be expected to have BLS certification. Most hospital professionals who simply have occasional patient contact, including medical students, nursing assistants or patient supporters, may be required to be certified in BLS as well.
Emergency service workers
Emergency service workers such as professional firefighters, EMTs or police officers are likely to be first on the scene of a medical emergency and should be prepared to provide emergency care.
Non-traditional first responders
The following individuals, due to the nature of their work, are likely to be first on the scene of a medical emergency or work far from medical help. If you’re a non-traditional first responder, your employer may require you to be certified in some form of emergency medical care. If not, you may want to consider BLS certification as part of a personal commitment to the well-being of others.
Some non-traditional first responders:
- Park rangers
- Taxi drivers
- Utility workers
- Teachers, childcare workers, and school bus drivers
- Designated industrial workers in a large facility (industrial plant) or at a remote site (fish-packing plant, commercial vessel, oil rig)
- Security guards
- General aviation pilots and commercial flight attendants
- Sports coaches and athletic trainers
- Recreation center managers
- Hunting and fishing guides
- Search and rescue personnel
- Campus responders and campus police
- Lifeguards/ski patrollers
- Camp counselors
- Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and leaders
- Airport ground personnel
Individuals who’d like to be able to help others in an emergency
Though the basic life support course is intended primarily for professionals, any individual interested in being prepared for a medical emergency should consider BLS certification. It can help you save a life!
The information included in this article is based on the 2005 guidelines for CPR, first aid and advanced cardiovascular care. Read more about how the 2010 guidelines impact BLS classes.