The steps of Basic Life Support (BLS) are designed to provide immediate care for someone who is experiencing cardiac arrest or respiratory arrest. BLS is often provided by healthcare professionals, such as paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs), but it can also be provided by non-professional rescuers, such as a family member or bystander. The basic steps of BLS include:
Before providing BLS, check to see if the person is responsive by tapping their shoulder and asking if they are okay. If the person is unresponsive, shout for help and begin BLS immediately.
If the person is unresponsive, call your local emergency number for EMS. If possible, have someone else make the call while you begin BLS.
Position yourself with the person on a hard, flat surface and kneel beside them. Place the heel of one hand on the center of the person’s chest (between the nipples), and place the heel of your other hand on top of the first hand. Keep your fingers off the person’s chest. Push down on the person’s chest, compressing it to a depth of about 2 inches (5 centimeters) at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
After 30 chest compressions, open the person’s airway by tilting their head back and lifting their chin. Pinch their nose shut and give two breaths into their mouth, making sure their chest rises.
After giving two breaths, return to chest compressions and repeat the cycle of 30 compressions and 2 breaths until professional help arrives, or until the person starts to breathe and show signs of life, or until you feel too tired to continue.
It is also important to note that, in certain cases an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) should be used. AED can help determine if a person is in ventricular fibrillation (VF), which is an abnormal heart rhythm that can lead to cardiac arrest. If an AED is available, it should be used as soon as possible, following the instructions given by the AED machine.