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4,000 Vancouver High School Students to be Empowered to Save Lives

VANCOUVER – Monday, November 20, 2000, 11 a.m., Vancouver Technical High School, 2600 East Broadway, Vancouver — The ACT Foundation, community and corporate partners today launch the ACT High School CPR Program in Vancouver. This year alone, 4,000 Grade 10 students from 20 schools in four school boards will be empowered to save lives with CPR training. The four-hour CPR course will be taught to all Grade 10 students by their Physical Education and Career and Personal Planning (CAPP) teachers.

The Kiwanis Club of Vancouver is a lead community partner and is spearheading the donation of over 600 mannequins to schools, reflecting support from the Kiwanis Club of Capilano, West Vancouver; the Evergreen North Vancouver Kiwanis Club; the Kiwanis Club of North Vancouver and the Kiwanis Club of West Vancouver. “The ACT/Kiwanis High School CPR Program will empower thousands of teens each year with the lifesaving skill of CPR. This is an excellent opportunity for Kiwanis Clubs throughout the province to get involved in the implementation of the program and effect a positive change within their communities,” says Dave Young, Chair, ACT-Kiwanis High School CPR Program Committee. The Royal Bank Financial Group Foundation is also a key partner and is sponsoring the CPR agency cost of teacher training. St. John Ambulance trains the high school teachers as CPR Instructors for the program. The Vancouver Sun / The Province are donating the printing of the student manuals, teacher kits and certificates and the British Columbia Ambulance Service is a provincial partner.

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). “Every year in British Columbia, approximately 2,500 people suffer cardiac arrest either at home, work, or other public setting. It has been shown that CPR can double the likelihood that someone will survive a cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, in BC only about one in five cardiac arrest victims receive CPR from bystanders. The only way to ensure that this statistic improves is to have as many people as possible trained in this simple, lifesaving skill,” says Dr. Karen Wanger, Regional Medical Consultant for the British Columbia Ambulance Service.

Schools are enthusiastic about the program. “The curriculum tie-in is a brilliant way of ensuring the program’s ongoing relevance to students and sustainability in our schools. The partnership with the ACT Foundation has generated a high level of enthusiasm among our teachers and we look forward to a long, mutually beneficial relationship with the ACT Foundation,” says Russ Pacey, Assistant Superintendent, Education and Development Services at the New Westminster School District. Geoff Jopson, Director of Curriculum at the West Vancouver School District highlights the program’s benefits to students. “The West Vancouver School District is very pleased to be part of this important teaching and learning initiative, providing students with essential life skills,” he says. The relevance of the program is underscored by Eva Ratzburg, CAPP/Career Development Facilitator at the North Vancouver School Board. “CPR is a relevant life skill that will be a resource not only to our students and school community but to our whole community,” she says. Equipping schools with the necessary mannequins, teacher training and curriculum resources makes the program possible. “Having a partnership with ACT will mean that teachers will be able to fulfill their commitment and students will be able to receive this valuable training,” explains Valerie Overgaard, Associate Superintendent of Learning Services at the Vancouver School Board.

The ACT Foundation, the Kiwanis clubs, the Royal Bank Financial Group Foundation and local partners are committed to expand the ACT High School CPR Program throughout the Vancouver area and British Columbia. Province-wide implementation will see over 50,000 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 in 1999, and will reach 150,000 Ontario youth each year. The Vancouver-area launch marks the introduction of the program in British Columbia, 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.