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BLS Provider Manual: Remember These Important Algorithms

Whether you work in a medical facility or as an emergency medical technician, or you simply want to be prepared to save lives, you probably need basic life support (BLS) training. BLS is the foundation for providing emergency care for an individual who has undergone cardiac arrest. Initial recognition and response to heart attack and stroke are also considered part of BLS.

If you’re gearing up to take you certification exam, you might find this BLS provider manual to be helpful. Here are a few tips on how to recall information from your BLS training. 

Cardiac arrest? Remember CAB.

The protocol for treating an unresponsive individual who may be experiencing cardiac arrest can most easily be remembered with the mnemonic device, CAB.

First, you should check your surroundings to make sure that you and the victim are safe. Then, check to see if the individual is breathing and has a pulse. Once you have identified that your surroundings are secure and the individual is unresponsive, begin the following steps:

Circulation: Immediately begin compressions on the victim. Compressions should occur at a rate of at least 100 per minute.

Airway: Check the airway, and open it if it is blocked.

Breathing: Check to see if the victim is breathing, then administer rescue breaths. Note: rescue breaths can be skipped when an untrained bystander is providing CPR, as compressions are more important for keeping a victim alive until help arrives.

CPR: adult vs. child patients

When preparing for your exam, it’s also important to remember the distinctions between pediatric and regular CPR protocol.

When performing CPR on an adult, use the following protocol:

  • Call for help before starting CPR.
  • Chest compressions should be at a depth of at least 2 inches.
  • Use two hands to administer compressions.

When performing CPR on a child, use the following protocol:

  • Immediately start CPR for two minutes, then call for help.
  • Chest compressions should be at a depth of 1 ½ to 2 inches.
  • Use one or two hands to administer compressions, depending on the size of the child.

When performing CPR on an infant, use the following protocol:

  • Immediately start CPR for two minutes, then call for help.
  • Chest compressions should be at a depth of 1 inch.
  • Use two fingers to administer compressions.

Use FAST to recognize stroke

BLS training also equips you to identify the early stages of stroke. It is important to be able to identify these signs, as an earlier diagnosis can improve chances for survival. To remember the most common signs of stroke, just remember the word FAST.

  • Facial Droop
  • Arm Drift
  • Speech
  • Time to call 911

If the individual exhibits just one of the three signs, it’s time to seek medical attention. If all three signs are present, the individual is at an 85 percent risk for severe stroke.

Health Ed Solutions: BLS provider manual and other resources

HealthEdSolutions.com provides online certification courses for first responders and healthcare professionals. BLS certification course offerings include BLS for healthcare providers and other BLS classes. HES also provides other informational resources for healthcare professionals, including the BLS provider manual.