CPR Seattle Blog

Learn more about Safety, CPR and First Aid

Is BLS the same as CPR? What's the difference?

CPR and BLS are not different; it’s just that CPR is an action while BLS is an extension of CPR into a healthcare context.

CPR, or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, is a procedure comprised of chest compressions combined with artificial ventilation. It is used to manually preserve intact brain tissue and function until advanced measures are taken to restore spontaneous breathing and circulation in a person in cardiac arrest.

While anyone can perform CPR, those who do so without having professional medical training are referred to as “lay rescuers”.

BLS, which stands for Basic Life Support, is a higher level of medical care applied to victims of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) until they can be provided care by advanced life support providers (paramedics, nurses, physicians). BLS is usually provided by trained medical personnel such as EMTs, CNAs, and other qualified bystanders.

Whereas CPR is a part of BLS, BLS goes a bit further in the types of assessments, interventions and equipment used to treat SCA.

BLS Provider courses include training in the following areas:

· High-quality CPR for all age groups (adults, children, and infants)

· The BLS components of the AHA Chain of Survival

· Early use of an AED

· Ventilations using barrier devices

· Importance of teams in multi-rescuer resuscitation and how to be an effective team member

· Relief of choking for adults/children and infants

The American Heart Association lists the most important steps of BLS in a "six-link chain of survival." The BLS portions of the chain of survival include early recognition of cardiac arrest, early application of CPR by a bystander, and rapid defibrillation with an AED, followed by advanced life support(ALS) when ALS personnel arrive.

Advanced Life Support introduces the following skills, which are NOT covered in a BLS Provider course:

· Recognition and early management of peri-arrest conditions such as symptomatic bradycardia

· Airway management

· Related pharmacology

· Management of ACS and stroke

· Effective communication as a member and leader of a resuscitation team

Lay-rescuer CPR training covers the skills used when one person is performing both compressions and breaths. In contrast, the BLS protocol provides extensive training in the use of multi-rescuer teams, as well as the use of tools such as bag-masks and feedback devices.

This video demonstrates an in-hospital adult resuscitation by a 4-member team, illustrating the benefits of high-quality CPR, monitoring CPR quality, and a team-based methodology.

Most employers in the healthcare field require BLS training while other industries encourage lay-rescuer CPR training. Both types of training are offered for both in-person and blended learning (online + in-person) options. If you aren’t sure which class is appropriate for you, consult your employer or the state board that requires you to submit proof of certification.

This table helps illustrate some of the differences between lay rescuer CPR training and BLS Provider training:


Vitals Assessed




CPR (lay rescuer)



2 via mouth to mouth or pocket mask



Breathing and pulse

30 for adult or single rescuer, 15 for child/infant multi-rescuer

2 via mouth to mouth, pocket mask, or bag valve mask

AED or manual defibrillator set to automatic mode


Whether your CPR training needs require lay rescuer CPR or BLS training, we’ve got a class to fit your schedule!  We also offer onsite workplace training for groups of four or more; contact our office here to get a quote for your team!

Enjoy our blog? follow us on Facebook.

Published on March 31, 2022