The ACT Foundation
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Montreal (QUEBEC), November 22, 2019– The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation announced the completion of its fundraising campaign to ensure an automated external defibrillator (AED) for all public high schools in Quebec. In addition, ACT confirmed that every year 68,000 students throughout the province will learn how to use an AED combined with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training to save lives. The event was attended by Danielle McCann, Quebec Health and Social Services Minister, Isabelle Charest, Deputy Minister for Education, and representatives from the public and private sectors.
The ACT Foundation is working in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education to establish high school student CPR and AED training programs throughout the province since 2006. The program sees high schools receive training equipment to enable teachers to train students. This includes AED training units, CPR and AED training mannequins, and program set-up that will see all secondary 3 students empowered with the skills and knowledge to save lives. “When a cardiac arrest occurs, taking action quickly is critical to their chances of survival. Having access to an automated external defibrillator, and knowing what to do while waiting for help, are key elements that will enable students to be ready to save lives. From this perspective, the initiative of the ACT Foundation and its partners is remarkable,” says Danielle McCann, Minister of Health and Social Services.
Research indicates that early CPR, combined with early defibrillation, can increase the chance of survival by up to 75 per cent, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. As the importance of public access defibrillators grows, there is increasing focus on the need for an AED in high schools. With high schools receiving an AED, the device will be available for on-site cardiac arrest emergencies involving students and adults. It will also be available for the general public, given the role of high schools as busy community centers with many people passing through their halls each week for adult education, sports and community events.
“This is a remarkable partnership, as secondary 3 students and staff at every public high school in Quebec will be trained and better prepared to respond to emergencies. From a perspective of health and well-being of the population, it will be very useful for these thousands of students in Quebec to learn effective techniques of cardiopulmonary resuscitation early on in their lives,” mentions Isabelle Charest, Deputy Minister of Education.
“CPR training at school is a health initiative that saves lives,” added Dr. Paul Poirier, Cardiologist, IUCPQ (Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec).
With the support of the Quebec Government, ACT’s health partners AstraZeneca Canada, Amgen Canada and Sanofi Canada, cardiologists, the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ), the Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec (FMOQ) and community partners, the ACT Foundation has completed its fundraising campaign for AEDs for public high schools and continues program roll out.
“As a national health partner with the ACT Foundation, Amgen Canada is proud to help students learn life-saving skills for life-threatening emergencies, but more importantly, to become champions for health and science in their families and communities,” says Brian Heath, member of ACT’s Board of Directors, and Vice-President and General Manager at Amgen Canada. “We strongly believe in the power of young people to inspire wellness.”
To date, the ACT Foundation has set up the ACT High School CPR Program in more than 1,800 high schools nation-wide, empowering more than 4.6 million youth to save lives.
“We are thrilled with the support from our partners,” said Sandra Clarke, the ACT Foundation’s Executive Director. “With it, we can enhance the CPR program in Quebec high schools with the addition of the AED training component and AED devices for schools. These are lifesaving skills that students will be able to bring to their current and future families and communities.”
The Evolution of the Program in Quebec
ACT launched Phase I in 1997 to set up the CPR training program in 400 public high schools in Quebec. Since then, more than 710,000 students have been trained and 68,000 more are trained in CPR every year. Based on this success, the Government of Quebec made CPR training mandatory in all high schools in November 2017.
During Phase 2 launched in 2011, ACT has focused on enhancing the CPR training program with AED training for students, and on providing AED devices for all public high schools. ACT expects that 68,000 secondary 3 students will be fully trained in both AED and CPR every year.
About the ACT Foundation
The ACT Foundation is the national charitable organization establishing the free CPR and AED program in Canadian high schools. The program is built on ACT’s award-winning community-based model of partnerships and support, whereby ACT finds local partners who donate the mannequins and AED training units that schools need to set up the program. High school teachers then teach CPR and how to use a defibrillator to their students as a regular part of the curriculum, reaching all youth prior to graduation. ACT’s partners, committed to bringing the program to Québec are the Government of Quebec, and our national health partners AstraZeneca Canada, Sanofi Canada, and Amgen Canada.
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