Lifesaving Life Support

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Lifesaving Life Support refers to the series of exams implemented by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS) in order to assess a lifesaver's ability in on land rescue technique. There are three life support exams and at each level the standard expected of the individual is increased with the final test, Life Support 3, allowing for minimal to no errors. These exams can be taken by anyone from the age of 12 upwards, but are usually taken to correspond with the requirements of the Bronze Medallion (Life Support 1), Award of Merit (Life Support 2) and Distinction (Life Support 3).

Life Support 1

This is the first exam that any lifesaver will face and is probably the simplest. It consists of three parts only:

  1. Trauma casualty - where the candidate is expected to deal with a casualty who is not breathing but shows signs of circulation, implementing good use of rescue breaths and the recovery position.
  2. Heart Attack/Resuscitation - where the candidate is expected to deal with a casualty who is not breathing and shows no signs of circulation. Here the candidate is expected to demonstrate the correct CPR sequence regarding either a heart attack or trauma, and is also expected to be able to perform CPR for up to two minutes.
  3. Theory section - where the candidate is expected to be able to answer questions on choking, bleeding, shock, hypothermia and drowning in a confident and knowledgable manner.

Following this exam a candidate will now be eligible for participation in the Bronze Medallion and because of this the two exams are frequently taken one after the other.

Life Support 2

This exam takes place after completion of Life Support 1 and demands a slightly higher level of skill from the candidate. Not only are they expected to implement the same basic skills as previously, but they are also expected to be able to adapt to changing, or more abstract, circumstances and relate these to the skills learnt previously. Again, the exam consists of three stages:

  1. Trauma casualty - where the candidate is expected to deal with a casualty who is not breathing but shows signs of circulation, implementing good use of rescue breaths and the recovery position. Here, the casualty's situation may change during the rescue precedure and candidates are expected to adapt accordingly.
  2. Heart Attack/Resuscitation - where the candidate is expected to deal with a casualty who is not breathing and shows no signs of circulation. Here the candidate is expected to demonstrate the correct CPR sequence regarding either a heart attack or trauma, and is also expected to be able to perform CPR for up to two minutes.
  3. Theory section - where the candidate is expected to be able to answer questions on choking, bleeding, shock, hypothermia and drowning in a confident and knowledgable manner.

Having completed this exam, a candidate is now eligible for their Award of Merit and also their Open Water bronze and silver crosses.

Life Support 3

By far the hardest of the Life Support exams, this exam is the prerequisite for the Distinction award. Candidates are expected to implement their skills to any situaiton and cope with changing circumstance in a calm and collected manner. This time the award consists of five stages:

  1. Trauma casualty - where the candidate is expected to deal with a casualty who is not breathing but shows signs of circulation, implementing good use of rescue breaths and the recovery position.
  2. Heart Attack/Resuscitation - where the candidate is expected to deal with a casualty who is not breathing and shows no signs of circulation. Here the candidate is expected to demonstrate the correct CPR sequence regarding either a heart attack or trauma, and is also expected to be able to perform CPR for up to two minutes.
  3. Tandem CPR - where the candidate is expected to perform CPR on an adult or child mannequin while directing an assistant to help in the task (regularly taking over on compressions).
  4. Theory section - where the candidate is expected to be able to answer questions on choking, bleeding, shock, hypothermia and drowning in a confident and knowledgable manner.
  5. Initiative test - where the candidate is expected to use their knowledge and skills to diagnose and treat two casualties in a situation that is solely land-based.

Having completed this exam, the candidate is now eligible to participate in the final Distinction award which completes their progression through the award system.

New RLSS Specification

With the introduction of the new RLSS guidelines concerning CPR and choking sequences, there will be a change to the award scheme from January 2007. From then, Life Support 1 will be replaced by a generic Life Support and Life Support 2 will cease to exist. Life Support 3 will remain the same with the same high standard expected of those who choose to take it.



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