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Basic Life Support (CPR) vs. Public CPR, AED, & First Aid

What’s the difference between the Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification and a Public CPR, AED, & First Aid Certification? This is a common question we receive and I hope to shed some light on the differences in my first IGH Health, Fire, & Safety blog post!

Firstly, who requires what certification?

Simply put, all Healthcare Workers are required to have the Basic Life Support Certification.

From Care Givers to Neurosurgeons, and everyone in between, must have an active certification to provide care. The two most common governing bodies for this certification are the American Heart Association and the Red Cross. Although we at IGH believe that the American Heart Association is the “golden standard” for BLS due to their continued research, strict guidelines, and widely accepted certification.

Warehouse worker first aid after accident.
Now you’re Public CPR, AED, & First Aid Certifications are for the General Public who are in need of the Certification for Work and Personal Purposes such as OSHA Regulated Employees, Lifeguards, Foster Parents, Childcare Employees, Volunteering, and so on. There are many governing bodies for this certification, but we prefer to use the American Heart Association and the American Safety & Health Institute. It is very important to make sure your class is in person and utilizes hands-on skills for this course. Online Certifications with no Hands-On skills are usually UNACCEPTED and provide little to no training.
What’s difference in Curriculum between BLS and CPR, AED, & First Aid?
Basic Life Support covers CPR and AED usage for Adults, Children, and Infants using advanced equipment such a BVM’s (Bag-Valve-Masks) along with Supplemental Oxygen that you would find in a Healthcare setting. This course also goes into more detail regarding Full Arrests, High Performance Teams, Roles and Responsibilities, Advanced Airways, and working alongside Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support Colleagues during a Full Arrest. This course also covers emergencies such as choking and overdoses but DOES NOT include a full First Aid Class or First Aid certification. BLS Courses also require you to pass a written test at the end of class unlike Public CPR, AED, and First Aid classes.
Public CPR, AED, & First Aid
These classes cover CPR and AED usage for Adults, Children, and Infants along with a wide variety of First Aid emergencies such as Anaphylaxis, Choking, Strokes, Seizures, Injuries, Bleeding Control, and much more. This class is geared towards the general public with the assumption that they have little to no medical expertise. While the class does not go into major detail in the science or causes behind these problems, it does teach the student many way to save lives and mitigate life threatening emergencies. We recommend students be at least 13 years of age to take this course due to graphic videos and descriptions of real emergencies. Written tests are not required for this course but may be added by the Instructor if asked to do so.
Similarities between BLS and Public CPR, AED, & First Aid
Both courses require an Verbal/Audio/Visual Presentation, Hands-On Skills, and a Skills Checkoff by a Qualified Instructor. Both certifications are also valid for two years from the day of completion, renewal classes are available for both courses and usually take less time than a new certification class. All classes require a Certified Instructor, training equipment with feedback devices, and an Electronic (E-Card) Certification emailed to the students after class that’s available to print or save to personal files.
While this was just a brief description of the differences and similarities between both courses, you can always find more information on our website at www.ighsafety.com, emailing me at admin@ighsafety.com, or by calling us at (817) 797-6348.
I hope this shed some light on any questions you may have! Thanks and we hope to see you in class soon!
Janet Edwards BSN, RN – Co-Founder/Director of Education