When someone stops breathing and/or their heart stops beating, they need help in getting their heart and lungs working again within 4-6 minutes or brain death can occur. The American Heart Association has developed a program to address this problem and calls it "CPR" or cardio-pulmonary rescusitation. The premise of this training is simple: the more people trained in CPR, the quicker a patient can have CPR delivered to them. Today, CPR has evolved into such an essential component of emergency care that it is called "Basic Life Support" (BLS).
The American Heart Association currently has four levels of Basic Life Support:
- Heartsaver - includes one-person CPR, management of airway obstructions (both conscious and unconscious varieties) in adults, recognizing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, and rescue breathing.
- PBLS (Pediatric Basic Life Support) - includes child and infant CPR, management of airway obstructions in infants and children, rescue breathing, and accident prevention.
- HCP (Health Care Prover) - includes one- and two-person CPR; infant and child CPR; rescue breathing and bag-valve mask usage; management of airway obstructions (both conscious and unconscious varieties) in adults, infants, and children; and (an an option) use of the automatic external defibrillator.
- Instructor - this class includes all skills in the above classes and permits the recipient to teach all of them.