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Life-Saving Skills: A Beginner's Guide to Basic Life Support (BLS)

Basic Life Support (BLS) stands as a fundamental set of techniques aimed at preserving life in emergency situations where immediate medical care might not be available. It is a critical skill set that equips individuals with the ability to intervene in instances of cardiac arrest, choking, or other life-threatening emergencies until professional medical help arrives. In this blog, we'll delve into the core principles of BLS, the significance of training for different individuals and the invaluable benefits of acquiring BLS skills.

What is BLS and What Does it Include?

Basic Life Support comprises a sequence of actions aimed at sustaining life and preventing further harm until professional medical assistance can be administered. The key steps in BLS, commonly remembered by the acronym CAB, are as follows:

  • Check the surrounding: First and foremost check the surroundings for safety , eg: poisonous gas
  • Check the response of the patient: check response of the patient by tapping on him , to try and talk to him. But this should not take more than 5 seconds
  • Emergency services: Immediately call for emergency services like fully equipped ambulance or nearby hospital. If there are more people around tell them to call emergency services
  • Circulation: Check for responsiveness and assess the victim's pulse. If absent, initiate chest compressions to maintain blood circulation.
  • Airway: Ensure the victim's airway is clear and open. Tilt the head back and lift the chin to open the airway.
  • Breathing: If the victim is not breathing, provide rescue breaths to deliver oxygen to the lungs.
  • AED: See if Artificial external Defibrillator ( AED ) is available and give shocks after every 5 cycles of CPR . If defibrillator is not available continue giving CPR till help arrives ( in this case it is always helpful to have two persons to give CPR )

These steps form the cornerstone of BLS interventions and are crucial in sustaining life during emergencies such as cardiac arrest or respiratory failure till Advanced Life Support is administered.

Who Needs to be Trained in BLS?

BLS training is valuable for individuals across various professions and backgrounds. While healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, and paramedics typically undergo comprehensive BLS training as part of their education and certification, it is equally essential for non-medical personnel and laypersons to acquire these life-saving skills. Teachers, caregivers, lifeguards, fitness instructors, and even ordinary citizens can benefit from BLS training as they may encounter emergency situations where immediate intervention can make a significant difference in the outcome.

Adult and Infant BLS: Understanding the Differences

While the principles of BLS remain consistent across all age groups, there are subtle differences in technique when administering BLS to adults versus infants. One primary distinction lies in the method of delivering chest compressions and rescue breaths:

Adult BLS: Chest compressions are performed by placing the heel of one hand at the center of the victim's chest, interlocking fingers, and compressing the chest to a depth of at least 2 inches at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute. Rescue breaths are administered mouth-to-mouth, ensuring a proper seal over the victim's mouth and pinching the nose.

Infant BLS: Chest compressions for infants are performed using two or three fingers at the center of the infant's chest, compressing to a depth of about 1.5 inches at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute. Rescue breaths are administered by covering the infant's mouth and nose with the rescuer's mouth and delivering gentle puffs of air.

Advantages of BLS

The advantages of BLS training are manifold. First and foremost, BLS equips individuals with the confidence and competence to intervene effectively in life-threatening emergencies. By initiating prompt CPR and other BLS interventions, bystanders can significantly increase the chances of survival for victims of cardiac arrest or choking. Additionally, BLS training fosters a culture of preparedness and empowers communities to respond effectively to emergencies, ultimately saving lives in critical situations.

CPS Initiative in BLS Training

Recognizing the importance of BLS in saving lives, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Mumbai (CPS) has embarked on an initiative to provide comprehensive BLS training programs. These training sessions will be tailored to meet the needs of healthcare professionals, as well as non-medical individuals seeking to acquire life-saving skills. With experienced instructors and advanced training facilities, CPS aims to equip participants with the knowledge and confidence to respond effectively to emergencies and make a positive impact in their communities.

Basic Life Support (BLS) is a vital skill set that can make a difference between life and death in emergency situations. With initiatives like the BLS training programs offered by CPS, acquiring these life-saving skills is both accessible and essential. Remember, the ability to respond effectively in emergencies can save lives and contribute to a safer, more prepared society.

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