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Basic Life Support – A Brand New Program

This brand-new program is coming on the scene just as CPR Level HCP (Health Care Provider) is phasing out, but it is not simply just a replacement. CPR Level HCP teaches basic CPR. The new BLS program does not. BLS is designed for those who would respond as part of their professional duties (like, for example, nurses or doctors).

As the Canadian Red Cross puts it,

Basic Life Support (BLS) is the recognition of, and initial intervention or treatment given by pre-hospital or in-facility responders to, a patient suffering from cardiac arrest or respiratory arrest. The BLS curriculum truly supports the delivery of high performance, team-based professional-level resuscitation. Our BLS course is industry-driven, designed as a robust resuscitation training program geared toward high quality CPR in a team environment, and recognizes the nuances of multidisciplinary teams with varied experiences.

Wow, that’s a mouthful.

Basically, BLS is based on international standards, and trains professionals to work seamlessly with other professionals, even if they have never met, let alone have worked together. You can get a sense of the course content from the Canadian Red Cross Basic Life Support Field Guide. BLS is a one-year certification, unlike most other first-aid and CPR courses, which will help keep skills sharp and fresh.

Who should take it?

This course is designed for professionals working in the medical field. If you are a healthcare provider, or someone in a rescue profession, you should take BLS. If your job doesn’t normally include providing emergency care (and therefore you don’t have access to all the equipment that comes with being a medical professional).

Some of the professions that may require or would benefit from a BLS course include:

Nurses and nursing students


Medical assistants


Paramedics and EMTs


Police officers


There are no prerequisites. The stand-alone BLS (full length) course is 4 hours, and two additional modules (Airway Management and Oxygen Therapy) can be added in another additional hour. The re certification is just 2 hours long.

It’s an program we’re excited to bring to Vancouver Island, and we hope everyone in the healthcare field takes it, so we can all become better, more efficient responders.

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