BLS steps

Adult BLS steps and algorithm

  1. Adult Chain of Survival

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The 5 links in the adult out-of-hospital Chain of Survival are:

  • Immediate Recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system
  • Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with an emphasis on chest compressions
  • Rapid defibrillation
  • Advanced Life Support
  • Post-cardiac arrest care

A strong Chain of Survival can improve chances of survival and recovery for victims of cardiac arrest.

2. High quality BLS


  • Immediate recognition of cardiac arrest
  • Keep compression depth of between 2-2.4 inches for adults and children and about 1.5 inches for infants.
  • Allow complete chest recoil after each compression.
  • Minimize interruptions in CPR, except to use an AED or to change rescuer positions.
  • Do not over ventilate.

3. Use of an AED


First, power on the AED. An AED can be used on an adult, child, or infant. Follow the AED prompts. Place the AED near the victim’s head and power on the unit. Some models require you to push a button to turn it on, while others turn on automatically when you lift the lid.

Second, apply the AED pads. Expose the chest and wipe it dry of any moisture. Apply the pads to the chest according to the pads.

  • Place one pad on the right side of the chest, just below the collarbone
  • Place the other pad on the lower left side of the chest
  • Connect the pads to the AED if they’re not already connected

If there are two trained rescuers, one performs CPR while the other prepares the AED for use. The rescuer in charge of the AED will apply the pads around the hands of the person giving chest compressions. Do not stop CPR while the AED is being readied for use. The AED will prompt you to stop CPR when it is ready to analyze the heart rhythm.

Third, clear the victim and shock. It is critical that no one touches the victim or his clothing while the AED analyzes or delivers a shock.

When prompted by the AED to deliver a shock:

  • The AED user quickly looks up and down the entire victim to ensure no one is touching him and loudly states, “Everybody clear.”
  • The rescuer can now push the shock button.