Basic Life Support Techniques Everyone Should Know

Basic Life Support Techniques Everyone Should Know


In moments of emergency, the first few minutes are crucial, and often, the immediate response can mean the difference between life and death. Basic Life Support (BLS), comprising simple, yet vital techniques, can be performed by anyone, not just healthcare professionals. These techniques are designed to address situations like cardiac arrest, choking, or drowning, where quick and effective action can save lives. This blog post aims to educate and empower you with essential BLS techniques, ensuring you're prepared to step up as a lifesaver when the situation demands.

Key Basic Life Support Techniques

1. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

  • Purpose: To maintain circulation and breathing in a person who has suffered cardiac arrest.
  • Steps:
    • Check responsiveness and call for emergency help.
    • Position your hands: Place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest and the other hand on top.
    • Compressions: Push hard and fast (100-120 compressions per minute), allowing the chest to rise fully between compressions.
    • Breaths: If trained, give two rescue breaths after every 30 compressions.

2. Use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

  • Purpose: To deliver a shock to a heart in abnormal rhythm.
  • Steps:
    • Turn on the AED and follow the voice prompts.
    • Attach the pads to the person’s bare chest as indicated.
    • Ensure no one is touching the person and press the shock button if advised by the AED.

3. Choking Relief

  • For Adults and Children:
    • Encourage coughing if the person is coughing forcefully and not making any sounds.
    • Back blows and abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver): Perform if the person can't breathe, speak, or cough.
  • For Infants:
    • Back blows and chest thrusts: Use a different technique for infants, involving gentle blows and thrusts.

4. Recovery Position

  • Purpose: To keep the airway clear and prevent choking on vomit or fluid if the person is unconscious but breathing.
  • Steps:
    • Roll the person on their side, ensuring their head is tilted back and their airway remains open.

5. Bleeding Control

  • Purpose: To stop or slow down bleeding until medical help arrives.
  • Steps:
    • Apply pressure with a clean cloth or bandage directly on the wound.
    • Elevate the bleeding area if possible.
    • Apply a bandage to maintain pressure after the bleeding slows down or stops.

6. Basic First Aid for Burns

  • Purpose: To cool the burn and prevent further injury.
  • Steps:
    • Cool the burn under lukewarm, running water.
    • Cover the burn with a sterile, non-fluffy cloth or bandage.


Knowing basic life support techniques is an invaluable skill set that everyone should possess. These skills are straightforward yet powerful tools in stabilizing a person in a life-threatening situation, buying crucial time until professional help arrives. While this post provides a basic overview, it's highly recommended to undergo formal BLS training, where you can practice these skills and become more confident in your ability to execute them effectively. Your readiness to act can make all the difference in an emergency, potentially saving a life.

References/Further Reading

  1. American Heart Association. (2023). CPR & First Aid Emergency Cardiovascular Care.
  2. Red Cross. (2023). Training & Certification Classes.
  3. American College of Emergency Physicians. (2023). First Aid Manual.
  4. International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR). (2023). Basic Life Support Guidelines.
  5. National Safety Council. (2023). First Aid, CPR & AED Training Courses.
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