BLS Description


BLS Description

(Replacement for BLS for Healthcare Providers)

Basic Life Support (BLS) is the foundation for saving lives after cardiac arrest. It is designed for healthcare professionals and trained first responders who provide care to patients in a wide variety of settings, and teaches both single-rescuer and team basic life support skills for application in pre-hospital and in-facility settings.

The Heart & Stroke BLS course offers:

  • The latest resuscitation science for improved patient outcomes
  • Realistic scenarios, simulations and animations depicting rescuers, teams and patients
  • Course and content flexibility for Heart & Stroke instructors and students, including adaptability to local protocols


Intended Audience:

The Heart & Stroke BLS course is designed for healthcare professionals and trained first responders who provide care to patients in a wide variety of both in-facility and prehospital settings or by those that require BLS certification and CPR training to enter into a healthcare-related training program

The BLS Provider course teaches learners to promptly recognize several life-threatening emergencies, give high-quality chest compressions, deliver appropriate ventilations, and provide early use of an AED. It includes adult, child, and infant rescue techniques. The BLS provider course includes realistic scenarios, simulations and state-of-the-art animations, and incorporates Heart & Stroke’s proven practice-while-watching video format to bring the science of the 2015 Guidelines Update for CPR and ECC to the front-line practitioner.

The Basic Life Support (BLS) Renewal course is a fast-paced course that allows the experienced BLS provider (those who are confident in their BLS skills through regular use in their work in the ED, CCU, ICU on code team, or paramedics and first responders) the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge through written and skills assessment in a concentrated program. Successful completion of this two hour 15 minute course (approximate time) allows students to renew their BLS course completion card.


Course Overview and Design:

The BLS course focuses on teaching the essential skills rescuers need to know to perform high-quality CPR in a wide variety of settings. After successfully completing the BLS Course, students should be able to:

• Describe the importance of high-quality CPR and its impact on survival

• Describe all of the steps of the Chain of Survival

• Apply the BLS concepts of the Chain of Survival

• Recognize the signs of someone needing CPR

• Perform high-quality CPR for an adult

• Describe the importance of early use of an automated external defibrillator (AED)

• Demonstrate the appropriate use of an AED

• Provide effective ventilations by using a barrier device

• Perform high-quality CPR for a child

• Perform high-quality CPR for an infant

• Describe the importance of teams in multi-rescuer resuscitation

• Perform as an effective team member during multi-rescuer CPR

• Describe the technique for relief of foreign-body airway obstruction for an adult or child

• Describe the technique for relief of foreign-body airway obstruction for an infant

BLS Course Duration: Course durations provided are based on a student-to-instructor ratio for learning stations of 6:1, and do not include additional times needed for optional lessons, breaks or transitions, or additional students. 

BLS Provider Course - Approximate course duration: 3 hours 52 minutes

BLS Renewal Course – Approximate duration: 2 hours 15 minutes

Course Completion Card & Expiration Date: All Heart &Stroke, Basic Life Support completion cards are valid for one year from the date of successful course completion.

Students who successfully complete the course will receive an email that provides access to their BLS Provider eCard. This electronic proof of course completion can be accessed directly online, downloaded or printed for convenience. A Heart & Stroke-printed course completion card is available for an additional fee.

To mitigate skills degradation, annual renewal of the BLS Course completion card is highly recommended. Research on skills retention and training have identified important outcomes:

  • There is growing evidence that BLS knowledge and skills decay rapidly after initial training.
  • Studies have demonstrated the deterioration of BLS skills within a few months after initial training.
  • Studies examining the effect of brief, more frequent training sessions demonstrated improvement in chest compression performance and shorter time to defibrillation.
  • Studies have found that students reported improved confidence and willingness to perform CPR after additional or high-frequency training.

Given how quickly BLS skills decay after training, and with the observed improvement in skill and confidence among students who train more frequently, students are encouraged to periodically review their Provider Manual and practice CPR and AED skills whenever possible.

BLS Renewal Course Prerequisites:

The prerequisite for admission to Heart & Stroke’s BLS Renewal course is current Heart & Stroke BLS Provider certification (taken within the last 12 months and current to the most recent Guidelines release) or successful completion of the online Heart & Stroke BLS Renewal Prerequisite Challenge. Students without one of these prerequisites are not permitted to attend the Heart & Stroke BLS Renewal course.

Students need to come prepared. The BLS Renewal course is fast-paced, assumes you have retained the cognitive knowledge learned in the Heart and Stroke BLS Provider course and can demonstrate skills mastery. There will be limited practice and limited opportunities for remedial coaching.

All participants are expected to be highly proficient BLS providers. This is not an entry-level course, those students who are unsuccessful in the skills or knowledge test will have to take a full BLS Provider course. 

Required Student Materials:

Only Heart & Stroke branded BLS materials are accepted for use in courses where a Heart & Stroke Foundation BLS completion card is issued.

Students must bring the most recent version of the BLS Provider manual with them to class for use throughout the course and as a source for the open resource exam.


  • BLS Provider Manual – in print (RE3310E) or eBook (RE3310ED)……...$16.50
  • Optional General Materials:
    - 2015 Handbook of Emergency Cardiovascular Care for Healthcare Providers – in print (RE0120E) or eBook (RE0120ED)…………………………………$34.95

Student resources can be conveniently purchased at Heart Shop, our online store by visiting: or clicking on the Shop for Training Materials button on the right side of the page. You can shop as a guest or log into your Resuscitation portal account to set up a Heart Shop account.


BLS Instructor Courses

The ideal Heart & Stroke Instructor-Candidate:

  • Is motivated to teach
  • Is motivated to facilitate learning
  • Is motivated to ensure that students acquire the skills necessary for successful course completion
  • Views student assessment as a way to improve individual knowledge and skills


All BLS Instructor-Candidates must have a current Heart & Stroke BLS Provider card.


BLS Instructor Course

The BLS Instructor course is comprised of two separate one-day training modules, delivered by a Heart a& Stroke Instructor Trainer:

  • The Core Instructor course, and 
  • The Basic Life Support instructor training module

The Core Instructor course is a foundational course required by all Heart & Stroke instructor-candidates. This course teaches instructor-candidates how to apply effective communication techniques, manage the classroom environment, and promote knowledge and skill transfer and retention. 

 The Basic Life Support instructor training module introduces the instructor-candidate to the educational materials and course outlines utilized in the delivery of Heart & Stroke BLS provider courses.


Mandated Instructor-Candidate Materials:

There are two BLS instructor kits available or the products can be purchased separately.  All materials for Heart & Stroke BLS instructors are available through Heart & Stroke’s e-Store, Heart Shop. Instructor materials must be ordered for instructor-candidates by the course coordinator, or the BLS instructor-trainer of the instructor course. 

Required Instructor-Candidate Materials:

  • BLS Provider Manual – in print (RE3310E) or eBook (RE3310ED)……….$16.50
  • BLS Instructor Manual Combo – print (RE3315E) or eBook (RE3315ED)..$67.95
  • BLS Course Video Combo – in DVD format (RE3345E)…………………….$94.95

Optional General Materials: New instructors and instructor-candidates are strongly encouraged to acquire the following optional general materials for quick reference during the course: 

  • 2015 Handbook of Emergency Cardiovascular Care for Healthcare Providers – in print (RE0120E) or eBook (RE0120ED)……………………………………….$34.95

Instructor Kits: Alternatively, individual components for the BLS instructor are conveniently bundled into competitively-priced BLS instructor kits: 

  • BLS Instructor Kit –Gold (RE3360E- Gold) – includes RE3310E | RE3315E | RE3345E)………………………………………………………………………..$157.95
  • BLS Instructor Kit – Silver (RE3360E – Silver) includes RE3310E | RE3315E…………………………………………………………………………..$78.50

 BLS Instructor Renewal Course

Instructor status must be maintained in good standing and renewed in order to remain eligible to teach Heart & Stroke courses.

 Maintaining active instructor status involves:

  • Teaching a minimum of two courses per year in each discipline you are registered to teach (e.g., BLS, Heartsaver)
  • Attending an instructor renewal course every three years.
  • Completing a Guideline Update within the designated timelines outlined by  Heart & Stroke
  • Paying annual registration fees by December 31st of each year.

Additional information pertaining to maintenance of instructor status can be found in the Instructor Resource for Resuscitation Programs (IRRP), available for download from the HSF Policies and Procedures section of the portal (login required).


BLS Instructor Guidelines Update

The Instructor Guideline Update is a requirement of all active, registered Heart & Stroke instructors and instructor-candidates (Heartsaver, BLS, First Aid, ACLS, and PALS). The instructor guidelines update process occurs in conjunction with the Guidelines for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care updates (approximately every 5 years). The instructor guidelines update introduces instructors to changes in the guidelines and the rationale for those changes, and the revised educational delivery techniques used in new course materials.


Instructor Trainers

Instructor trainers are integral in maintaining the high teaching standards set by Heart & Stroke. BLS instructor trainers ensure quality program delivery by identifying and supporting instructor-candidates through the completion of instructor curriculum as well as coaching and mentoring Instructors.


BLS instructor trainers are responsible for two levels of instructor credentialing: Basic Life Support (BLS) and Heartsaver®. 


BLS Instructor Trainer Course

The BLS Instructor Trainer course is designed to enable existing Heart & Stroke instructors to teach Heart & Stroke instructor-level courses. 


Mandated Instructor-Trainer-Candidate Materials (if not already acquired):

  • Heartsaver® CPR AED Student Workbook
  • Heartsaver® CPR AED Instructor Manual
  • Heartsaver® CPR AED Course Video
  • BLS Provider Manual
  • BLS Instructor Manual Combo
  • BLS Course Video Combo
  • BLS Instructor Training Module
  • HSF Core Training Program
  • Instructor Resource for Resuscitation Programs (IRRP)


BLS Instructor Trainer Renewal

To maintain registration with Heart &Stroke, a BLS Instructor Trainer Renewal is required every three years. Completion ensures that the BLS instructor trainer receives current curriculum and guidelines, and is re-evaluated on their skills. The BLS Instructor Trainer Renewal course builds upon the educational learning gained within the original instructor course.


BLS Instructor Trainer Guideline Update

The Guideline Update is a course that all active, registered Heart & Stroke instructors and instructor-candidates (BLS, First Aid, ACLS, and PALS) are required to attend when the Guidelines for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care change (approximately every 5 years). The course introduces instructors to changes to the guidelines and the rationale for those changes, the revised educational delivery techniques and materials, and the syllabus utilized in courses offered by Heart & Stroke.


Mandated Student Materials:

  • As determined by Heart & Stroke during the guidelines change process