Austere Basic Life Support (ABLS)

Course Overview
Target Audience
Course Objectives

This course teaches the general principles of the Austere environment, along with a comprehensive approach to Basic Life Support in an austere environment.

Faculty: Austere Medicine
Course Name: Austere Basic Life Support
Course Code:  ABLS
8 Hours
Mode: Face-to-face
Level: BLS with extended scope austere protocols

Prerequisites: Participants must be at least 16 years of age. Minors must have parental consent.

Packaging: This course is delivered over one (1) day.

Instructional Strategies:
This course combines lecture-based instruction with practical application. Instructional strategies include pre-reading, lectures, discussions, demonstrations, practical application, simulation, and presentations.

Effort Breakdown: 3 lecture hours, 3 practical hours, 2 assessment hours

Certification: Upon successful completion of the course, participants receive an internationally recognised certification from Austere & Emergency Medicine International in Austere Basic Life Support (ABLS), valid for three years. Re-certification can be achieved by attending a refresher course.


  1. Introduction to the Austere Environment
  2. Introduction to the Anatomy & Physiology of Critical Systems
  3. Medicolegal Considerations
  4. Introduction to Medical Record Keeping
  5. Patient Assessment
  6. Infection Prevention & PPE
  7. Austere Basic Life Support
  8. Oxygen Administration
  9. Austere Protocol 1
The Austere Basic Life Support (BLS) Course is designed for individuals seeking a concise introduction to immediate life-saving interventions in austere environments. This course provides a focused first foray into austere medicine without being exhaustive.

Ideal participants for this course include:

  1. Outdoor Enthusiasts: Individuals engaged in outdoor activities, where immediate life-saving skills can be vital in case of emergencies.

  2. Community Members: Those interested in enhancing their ability to respond to emergencies within their communities.

  3. Travelers to Remote Areas: Individuals planning trips to locations with limited access to immediate medical care.

  4. Time-Constrained Individuals: People with limited availability for longer training programs but who recognize the importance of basic life-saving skills.

The Austere BLS Course provides a practical and focused introduction to immediate life-saving interventions, offering a valuable starting point for individuals venturing into austere medicine. Participants gain essential skills to respond effectively to emergencies, with the understanding that supplementary training may be necessary for a more comprehensive knowledge of austere medical practices.

On successful completion of the course, participants should be able to:

  1. Understand the Austere Environment: Acquire knowledge of the unique challenges posed by austere environments, emphasizing the impact on basic life support interventions.

  2. Introduction to Anatomy & Physiology of Critical Systems: Gain a basic understanding of critical anatomical and physiological systems relevant to BLS in austere settings.

  3. Medicolegal Considerations: Explore the legal considerations specific to providing basic life support in austere environments.

  4. Introduction to Medical Record Keeping: Understand the importance of basic medical record-keeping in the context of austere BLS interventions.

  5. Patient Assessment: Develop skills in patient assessment tailored for austere environments, focusing on identifying life-threatening conditions.

  6. Infection Prevention & PPE: Learn infection prevention measures and appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during BLS in austere settings.

  7. Austere Basic Life Support: Demonstrate proficiency in BLS techniques, including chest compressions, rescue breaths, and airway management, with a focus on resource-limited environments.

  8. Oxygen Administration: Understand the principles of oxygen administration in austere environments as they pertain to basic life support.

  9. Differentiate Cardiac Arrest and Respiratory Arrest: Develop the ability to distinguish between cardiac arrest and respiratory arrest during patient assessments in austere environments, applying appropriate BLS interventions based on the specific condition.

  10. Manage Anaphylaxis in Austere Environments: Acquire the skills to recognize and manage anaphylactic reactions in austere settings, implementing appropriate BLS measures to address this life-threatening allergic emergency.

  11. Austere Protocol 1: Gain familiarity with and apply the first austere protocol, understanding when to withhold and/or terminate resuscitation efforts.


  1. Attendance Requirement: 100% attendance is mandatory to pass the course. Reasonable adjustments will be made where practicable.

  2. Physical Fitness Requirement: A certain level of fitness and strength is necessary to fulfill the duties of a first responder in emergency situations. Failure based on physical criteria is not discriminatory but practical for the role's demands.

  3. Written Exam: The written exam consists of 25 multiple-choice questions. A pass mark of 80% is required to successfully complete the written component.

  4. Practical Assessments: Formative and summative practical assessments are conducted throughout the course. Summative assessments include simulations and mini-codes. Competent performance of all skills is essential to pass.

  5. Exam and Class Outcome: It is possible to pass the written exam and fail the class if practical competency is not achieved.

    Conversely, it is possible to fail the written exam and pass the class if exceptional practical performance is demonstrated, and adequate knowledge of the curriculum can be demonstrated through other assessment activities.

  6. Re-exam Opportunity: If a participant fails the written exam, a verbal re-exam will be provided to offer an opportunity to showcase their knowledge.

  7. Special Accommodations: Participants with language difficulties or divergent learning needs can request a verbal or alternative style of exam. Reasonable accommodations will be made to facilitate a fair assessment process.

Note: The assessment criteria aim to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of both theoretical and practical competencies, promoting a well-rounded and capable Austere BLS Provider.

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