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What is basic life support and why do you need to learn it?

Learn the importance of basic life support in life-threatening situations.

What is basic life support?

Basic life support refers to the level of medical care used in emergency situations. For example, when casualties are experiencing cardiac arrest, obstructed airways or respiratory distress.

As these situations can all be life-threatening, basic life support is a crucial component in first aid. Having a good knowledge of basic life support techniques means you will be able to apply them in critical situations. You will be able to keep individuals in a stable condition until professional medical help arrives.

What do you learn in basic life support training?

These are the main four types of basic life support that you will learn in your training:

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

A cardiac arrest is what happens when the heart’s pumping action is disrupted. As a result, the heart is unable to pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs. This usually happens suddenly and without warning.

If someone is having a sudden cardiac arrest, they might:

  • Stop moving
  • Show signs of irregular breathing
  • Be completely unresponsive

In this situation, the next few minutes are key to stabilising the casualty. The body has enough blood to sustain vital organs for approximately seven minutes, which means you will need to act quickly and decisively. Knowing basic life support steps and the correct order to perform them is critical when dealing with sudden cardiac arrests.

Heart attack, stroke and Foreign Body Airway Obstruction (FBAO)

Do you know how to tell whether someone is having a heart attack or a stroke? Can you recognise the signs of choking? Often, the casualty will be so overcome by what they are experiencing that they’ll be unable to explain what is happening to them. This is why being able to quickly identify these conditions is such a key skill.

One of the benefits of basic life support training is that you’ll learn to distinguish between these conditions. Learning to identify the early signs and responding in the correct way can make the difference between life and death. Having loose knowledge or a ‘rough idea’ of what to do isn’t enough. You need to know what you’re looking for and know how to react.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

Despite the fact that most adults have heard of CPR, a survey by the British Heart Foundation found that nearly a third of UK adults would be unlikely to attempt CPR because they don’t know how to do it properly.

CPR is a life-saving medical procedure that is used on casualties who are suffering from cardiac arrest. It pumps blood around their bodies at a time when their heart is unable to do so. This ensures the vital organs receive blood and oxygen. This procedure is an integral part of basic life support and can drastically increase a person’s chances of survival.

Defibrillation with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a device that can help save the life of someone experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest. Following Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest during the Euros 2020 tournament, AEDs and their life-saving abilities were thrown into the spotlight.

AEDs are portable devices that come with step-by-step instructions that explain how to use them. While you don’t need to be trained to use an AED, it is still recommended to have defibrillator training so that you are more confident when using the device. As someone’s life may be at risk, having that experience and understanding of how it works could really make all the difference.

Who can benefit from being trained in basic life support?

Basic life support is universal. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, you never know when someone might unexpectedly suffer one of the conditions we have mentioned. Everyone can benefit from basic life support training, but we would particularly recommend it for those who care for others. This includes health care workers, social workers, teachers and carers of children.

We believe that every workplace should have qualified first aiders who are trained in basic life support. What happened to Christian Eriksen was awful to see. It showed that sudden cardiac arrests can happen to anyone, even professional athletes who are in peak physical condition. We are all susceptible to sudden conditions such as these, and therefore we should all know how to deal with them.

Thinking of learning basic life support?

Here at Vital Workplace Training, we work closely with our clients to provide engaging and informative training sessions. We provide bespoke basic life support courses that are designed specifically for your workplace and employees. So whether you work on a construction site or in a restaurant, we can deliver you a versatile and robust training session that will leave you confident at delivering basic life support.

As part of our effort to protect our local community from sudden cardiac arrests, we are providing free defibrillator training to sports teams in Coggeshall, Essex. If you’d like to come to us for your training, we have plenty of room in our new office and training room. So if your business is based in Ipswich, Colchester or London, we can provide you with engaging and informative basic life support training.

To book a course or find out more information, give us a call today.