What is the difference between ALS & BLS?

What is the difference between ALS & BLS?

advanced life support and basic life support

There are two types of life support: advanced and basic.

Providing basic life support (BLS) is the first basic steps in stabilizing a patient. The main goal of BLS is to help the patient during an emergency until EMS arrives for further assessment. BLS is performed without drugs and only includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). BLS is intended for lay responders and includes topics such as:

  • Performing CPR
  • Using an AED
  • Performing the Heimlich Maneuver

When advanced life support (ALS) is provided it involves medical knowledge and highly professional techniques. ALS is performed by initiating IV access, reading and deciphering electrocardiograms, and administering emergency drugs. ALS is intended for EMS and hospitals only and includes topics such as:

  • Effective airway control
  • ALS pharmacology terms and their meaning
  • Respiratory issues and cardiac arrest management
  • Acute coronary syndromes and stroke management
  • Serving as a leader and team member in a resuscitation team


Most people will use basic life support because it takes years of training to perform advanced life support. Learn how to save someone’s life in an emergency, by signing up for a class through our website!


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