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2,300 Edmonton High School Students to be Empowered to Save Lives

EDMONTON – Wednesday, November 22, 2000, 10:30 a.m., Jasper Place High School, 8950-163rd Street, Edmonton — The ACT Foundation, the Kiwanis Club of Edmonton and community partners today launch the ACT High School CPR Program in Edmonton. This initiative will result in 2,300 Grade 10 students from 5 schools from the Edmonton Public School Board and the Edmonton Catholic School Board being empowered to save lives with CPR training. The four-hour CPR course will be taught to all Grade 10 students by their Physical Education teachers every year.

The Kiwanis Club of Edmonton, as a lead community partner, is donating over 150 mannequins to schools. “Kiwanis supports youth leadership, training, education and community service. This type of project, with its wide implications for community service is the type of program which we believe in,” says Barry Coon, President of the Kiwanis Club of Edmonton. The Kiwanis Club of Edmonton is also sponsoring the CPR agency cost of teacher training. St. John Ambulance, as the teacher training partner, trains the high school teachers as CPR Instructors for the program. The Edmonton Journal, as a key partner, donates the printing of the student manuals, teacher kits and certificates.

Through the ACT High School CPR Program, students will be prepared to help a parent or grandparent should they experience a heart attack or cardiac arrest, a brother, sister or child they are babysitting should they choke, or a friend involved in a drowning emergency (a common cause of death among teens). “Here in Edmonton, we have made tremendous strides in our ability to provide timely, advanced care to victims of cardiac arrest. However, it became apparent in the past few years, that nearly two-thirds of our cardiac arrest victims were not receiving bystander CPR and that we were not going to save more lives unless more bystanders were trained in CPR. This project will give Edmonton youth the knowledge and skills required to re-ignite the spark of life in a member of their community,” says Dr. Terry Sosnowski, Medical Director for the Edmonton Emergency Response Department.

Schools are enthusiastic about the program. “This program will not only teach our students how to perform CPR, but will also educate them about the factors that lead to heart attacks and encourage them to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” says Edmonton Public School Board Chairman Don Fleming. “Empowering students with knowledge and skills that will save lives is a perfect match with our approach to learning. We are pleased to be involved with the ACT High School CPR initiative,” says Dr. Brenda Willis, Director of Learning Support Services for the Edmonton Catholic School Board.

The ACT Foundation, the Kiwanis Club, the STARS Foundation and local partners are committed to expand the ACT High School CPR Program in Edmonton and throughout Alberta. The Edmonton Community Lottery Board has recommended the approval of a grant request from the Kiwanis Club of Edmonton and the ACT Foundation for $91,800 to expand the ACT high school CPR Program to all 23 Edmonton high schools over 2001 and 2002. The STARS Foundation, as a provincial partner of the ACT Foundation, has approved a grant of $159,000 to help expand the ACT high school CPR Program throughout Alberta. Province-wide implementation will see over 45,000 high school students trained in CPR every year.

The ACT Foundation is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to establishing CPR as required learning in every Canadian high school. ACT works as a catalyst at the grassroots level to introduce the concept of mandatory high school CPR and raise awareness on the issue. ACT then works in partnership with health professionals, service clubs, government and the community to help school boards establish the program. ACT helps raise funds for CPR mannequins and resources needed by schools. The ACT High School CPR Program already exists in several hundred schools in Ontario and Quebec. Teachers and students embrace the program with enthusiasm. The success of ACT’s Ontario pilots has resulted in the integration of CPR into the new Ontario high school curriculum at the Grade 9 level, and will reach 150,000 Ontario youth each year. The Edmonton launch marks the introduction of the program in Alberta, giving the program a national perspective. ACT’s corporate health partners are companies within the research-intensive pharmaceutical industry: Aventis Pharma, AstraZeneca, Merck Frosst and Pfizer Canada.