Basic Life Support Training Guide

We cannot all be James Bond or MacGyver, but we can all be heroes if we understand the basic life support training guide. The two most common forms of basic life support are mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and CPR. Both techniques can come in handy after a really wild party or at the beach. And both can be performed nearly anywhere.  

The primary function of basic life support is to keep a person alive until professional help can arrive. Training courses are usually offered by the American Red Cross or hospitals. Hospitals and organizations will charge a small fee, but an uncertified person can still perform CPR. Basic life support training can give a person the extra confidence he needs to be a hero.

  1. Check to see if the victim is conscious. If he can respond, you only need to call for help. If he does not respond, proceed to the next step. Check the victim for a pulse. If the victim has a pulse, you do not need to do chest compressions.
  2. Tilt the person’s head back. Place your cheek next to the victim's nose. If he is breathing, you can begin chest compressions. If the victim is not breathing, pinch his nose and cover the victim’s mouth with yours. Breathe into his mouth twice. Each breath should last one second.
  3. Put one of your hands over the other. Put your hands over the victim's heart. Press down one-and-a-half to two-inches. Do the compressions 30 times. If the victim starts breathing or coughing, stop performing the compressions.


Basic life support training can include the steps for CPR for an adult listed above, but most courses also include infant and child life support, the Heimlich maneuver and fist aid for emergency situations. A person who has a copy of the Boy Scouts manual may find that the first aid section contains instructions on how to perform emergency medical care.

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