Difference between BLS and CPR certification

Navigating vital lifelines: Understanding BLS vs. CPR certification

In moments of crisis, a swift and informed response can be the difference between life and death. Amidst the myriad of certifications available, understanding the nuances between Basic Life Support (BLS) and Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is paramount. In this blog, Rose delves into the critical disparities between the two, shedding light on their significance, legal frameworks, and best practices.

Key facts and statistics

  • According to the American Heart Association (AHA), roughly 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur annually in the United States.
  • A study published by the British Heart Foundation reveals that less than 1 in 10 people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK.
  • Immediate initiation of CPR, along with early defibrillation, can double or even triple survival rates.

Key definitions

  • Basic Life Support (BLS) - Refers to the fundamental medical care provided to individuals experiencing life-threatening emergencies. It encompasses airway management, rescue breathing, and chest compressions.
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) - CPR is a specific component of BLS, focusing solely on chest compressions and rescue breaths to maintain blood circulation and oxygenation in individuals experiencing cardiac arrest.

Relevant legislation, regulations, and best practice

  • Legislation and regulations - In the UK, the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 mandate employers to provide adequate first aid provisions, including trained personnel. Similarly, the American Heart Association sets guidelines for CPR and BLS training in the United States.
  • Best practice - Regular training updates and adherence to the latest protocols are essential. Employers should ensure their staff are certified by recognised bodies like the Resuscitation Council (UK) or the American Red Cross (US).

Understanding BLS

BLS serves as the foundation of emergency medical care, equipping individuals with the skills to intervene effectively in critical situations. It encompasses a broader spectrum of interventions beyond CPR, including the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and basic wound care.

Exploring CPR

CPR, a subset of BLS, focuses specifically on sustaining circulation and oxygenation through chest compressions and rescue breaths. It is vital in situations where an individual's heart has stopped beating, often due to cardiac arrest.


  • Training accessibility - Employers should ensure widespread access to certified BLS and CPR training for all staff members.
  • Regular refreshers - Continuous training updates and refresher courses are imperative to maintain proficiency and stay abreast of evolving best practices.
  • Community engagement - Encouraging community-wide CPR training initiatives can significantly enhance cardiac arrest survival rates.


In the critical moments following a cardiac emergency, the distinction between BLS and CPR can be life-saving. By understanding the nuances between the two and investing in comprehensive training, individuals and organisations can empower themselves to respond effectively in times of crisis.

Take the first step towards preparedness today. Dive into a world of knowledge and growth with The Mandatory Training Group's ComplyPlus LMS™. Enhance your skills and empower yourself to make a difference in critical situations. Click here to explore our wide range of courses and training opportunities and embark on a transformative learning experience.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

Navigating vital lifelines: Understanding BLS vs. CPR certification - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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