BLS vs. CPR: What’s the Difference?

BLS and CPR are two important medical procedures that can help save lives. Understanding the distinction between BLS vs CPR is crucial to educating individuals about the purpose, situation, technique, training, and equipment used in each method. In restaurants, parks, and even at work, we can face unpredictable emergencies that require a quick response. Learning the variation between BLS and CPR will enable individuals to act fast and make informed decisions that can help save precious lives. Let’s dig into the similarities and differences between BLS and CPR and learn more about both types of training.

A person is performing CPR after understanding the difference between BLS vs CPR

Introduction to BLS and CPR

Basic life support (BLS) is a set of emergency procedures performed by healthcare professionals for patients experiencing cardiac arrest, blocked airways, respiratory failure, or other life-threatening conditions. Performing BLS immediately and properly can prevent brain damage and increase the survival rate. BLS techniques involve recognition and response to the situation, calling emergency medical services, proper CPR performing, using AEDs, and providing basic airway management and breathing assistance.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique used in emergencies to revive a victim whose heart has stopped beating or experiencing breath failure. Performing CPR can save lives by keeping the flow of oxygen in vital organs including the brain, until the patient’s heart starts beating again. In cardiac emergencies, CPR is vital in maintaining blood circulation through pomping the heart manually to assure oxygenated blood reaches the brain and other vital organs. In the BLS vs CPR comparison, it’s important to learn more about their purposes.

Purpose of BLS

BLS is a technique used by emergency medical services to sustain patients’ lives who are experiencing obstructed airways, or cardiac or respiratory arrest. You have to perform proper chest compressions and rescue breaths until the patient starts breathing again. If that doesn’t work, you have to use the AED. This includes attaching the AED to the patient’s chest by following the instructions provided. BLS procedures equipment includes pulse oximetry, blood pressure monitoring equipment, automatic external defibrillator, oxygen supply, and oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal airways. These equipment are used by the ambulance to support and sustain patients’ lives.

Purpose of CPR

To indicate whether a person needs CPR or not you have to check their breathing and pulse. If the patient has no pulse and doesn’t breathe, you have to perform CPR immediately. There are some scenarios when CPR is required to save someone’s life. Unconsciousness, drowning, choking, cardiac arrest, drug overdose, suffocation, and electrocution are emergencies that require CPR. For example, if you notice a person drowning, you have to rescue them and perform CPR when the victim isn’t responding or doesn’t breathe. This will increase the chances of survival by restoring oxygen circulation until medical assistance arrives.

There is no specific equipment required in basic CPR procedures, however, ambulances must have two adults and two children exhaled air resuscitation masks and four disposable pairs of gloves. Learning the purposes of both methods guided us to understand the differences between BLS vs CPR. Understanding the similarities and variations between BLS and CPR is essential in rescuing victims’ lives.

Key Similarities and Differences

BLS and CPR are essential life-saving techniques. Whether you are an ordinary person who has a CPR certification or a BLS-certified healthcare professional, you can save other individuals’ lives. BLS and CPR training provide individuals with the confidence to take action quickly which increases survival rates. BLS and CPR play an effective role in saving people’s lives who are suffering from life-threatening conditions and controlling their state until medical assistance arrives. When comparing BLS vs CPR, you have to consider their techniques, training, and equipment used.

BLS techniques include performing CPR, using AEDs, and providing basic airway management and breathing assistance. BLS training involves adult, child, and infant CPR and AED training, assessment and response to emergencies, choking relief and response, airway management, ventilation with various devices, team dynamics, and an overview of the emergency medical services system. As for BLS equipment, automated external defibrillators, blood pressure monitoring equipment, oxygen supply, pulse oximetry, and oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal airways are included.

On the other hand, CPR techniques involve two types, conventional CPR and hands-only CPR. Conventional CPR demands a cycle of chest compressions and rescue breaths while hands-only CPR only requires chest compressions without rescue breaths. CPR training involves SCR sign recognition, hands-only and conventional CPR performing, AED usage training, and basic first aid skills while learning how to avoid over-ventilating. Ambulances must have two exhaled air resuscitation masks for both adults and children and four disposable pairs of gloves while basic CPR performance doesn’t require any equipment. Digging deeper into BLS vs CPR techniques and procedures will aid in understanding their differences more.

A woman is discovering the difference between BLS vs CPR

BLS Techniques and Procedures

To perform BLS flawlessly, it’s crucial to follow some important steps. First, you have to assure the safety of the surroundings from debris or other conditions. Next, assess the victim’s airway, breathing, and circulation before performing BLS. It’s vital to call medical assistance to ensure they are on the way while performing BLS. Use AED to keep you on the right track while performing chest compressions and rescue breaths. Finally, perform chest compressions in sets of 30 with 2 rescue breaths. Early intervention and proper execution reduce brain damage and death, and increase survival rates and chances of positive income while decreasing the mortality associated with various life-threatening situations including cardiac arrest.

CPR Techniques and Procedures

After learning about BLS techniques and procedures, you have to understand CPR techniques and procedures to successfully compare BLS vs CPR. To perform CPR perfectly, you have to check the scene’s safety and the victim’s consciousness. Next, call medical assistance to ensure they will arrive on time. Then, lay the victim on their back and open the airway to ensure it’s clear and unobstructed for breathing. You have to check the pulse and breathing of the victim to indicate whether they require CPR or not. If the victim has no pulse and doesn’t breathe, start by performing 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths. Finally, keep repeating the process until the ambulance reaches your location.

To properly perform CPR, it’s essential to perform effective chest compressions and rescue breaths while paying attention to the rhythm. Effective chest compressions prevent brain damage and death through maintaining blood circulation. Rescue breaths aid in providing direct life-sustaining oxygen and ventilation to the victim’s lungs as brain damage can occur after 3 minutes without oxygen. Rhythm considerations are inevitable when performing CPR to avoid damaging the myocardium or deteriorating CPR’s quality. Training and certification requirements are necessary points in the BLS vs CPR comparison.

Training and Certification

Whether you choose online training or in-person courses, BLS and CPR courses will cover plenty of topics to assure your qualification. BLS training entails assessment and decision-making, choking response, CPR and AED training for adults, children, and infants, ventilation with various devices, airway management, emergency medical services system overview, and team dynamics. To obtain BLS certification, healthcare professionals have to pick an accredited course, enroll and memorize the course materials, pass the certification exam, and receive the certification.

CPR training includes hands-only and conventional CPR performing, SCR sign recognition, basic first aid skills, AED usage training, and procedures to avoid over-ventilating. To earn a CPR certification, you have to choose a suitable CPR certification type, find reputable course providers, enroll and study course materials, pass the certification test, and receive your certification. By comparing BLS vs CPR in training and certification, you have a clearer image of their differences.

Importance of Prompt Action

Responding quickly in life-threatening situations such as cardiac arrests plays an effective role in improving survival rate by controlling patients’ conditions, and reducing brain damage and mortality. It’s vital to call emergency services before initiating BLS or CPR to guide and assist you with CPR or BLS instructions while ensuring their arrival on time. If the ambulance arrives late, there is a big chance of losing the patient’s life. CPR or BLS can fail to sustain the victim and having a healthcare professional is essential to save their lives.

The paramedics are performing CPR to rescue the patient


Comparing BLS vs CPR aids in exploring various similarities and differences between them. They share the same goal which is saving individuals’ lives but differ in purposes, situations, techniques, training, and equipment. Depending on the situation and victims’ conditions, it will be indicated whether BLS or CPR are required. Being knowledgeable about the distinction between BLS and CPR will aid in taking prompt action. You can reach out to a reputable course provider such as Pacific Rim Safety Training to obtain BLS or CPR certification. What are you waiting for? Contact an accredited course provider and get your certification now.