London students empowered to save lives
London, ON, November 28, 2005 — Today, the Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation, with support from the Government of Ontario and local community partners, launches the ACT High School CPR Program in London at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School, 1360 Oxford Street West. This initiative will result in 8,600 Grade 9 students from 37 high schools from the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board being empowered to save lives every year. Communities covered by the program include London, St. Thomas, Dorchester, Woodstock, Tillsonburg, Ingersoll, Aylmer, Strathroy, Glencoe, Norwich, Parkhill, West Lorne, and Arva. The four- hour CPR course will be taught to all Grade 9 students by their physical education teachers as a regular part of the curriculum.
“This is a fantastic program that will help strengthen the first link in the ‘Chain of Survival’ and help increase the chances of surviving an out-of- hospital cardiac arrest,” says Dr. Jon Dreyer, Medical Director for the London Health Sciences Centre Base Hospital Program, as well as Medical Director for the ACT Program in London. “Teaching high school students to recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, as well as how to perform CPR, is the key to reducing mortality from this problem. I am very pleased to be associated with this program.”
Research indicates that citizen CPR response can improve survival rate for victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest by almost fourfold. With eight in 10 cardiac arrests occurring at home, empowering youth with CPR training as part of their high school education will help increase citizen CPR response rates over the long term. And the program has other benefits.
“In addition to empowering youth to save lives, the CPR program has a strong health promotion message,” says ACT Executive Director Sandra Clarke. “Students learn about risk factors for heart disease and the importance of adopting heart healthy lifestyle behaviors at a young age.” The ACT program prepares youth to help a parent or grandparent should they experience a heart attack or stroke; a brother, sister or child they are babysitting should they choke; or a friend involved in a drowning emergency. “They will bring their health promotion message and lifesaving skills to their present and future families,” says Clarke.
The ACT High School CPR Program is built on ACT’s award-winning community- based model of partnerships and support, through which the Foundation rallies the support of community partners to donate funding for start-up materials (mannequins, materials and teacher training) for schools.
Through the Foundation’s public/private funding partnership model 1,140 CPR training mannequins have been donated to the 37 London-area high schools and 200 physical education teachers are being trained as CPR Instructors. In London, this partnership model involves a commitment of $60,000 from the Ontario government, which is being matched by local community partners for a combined commitment of $120,000. Lead community partners in London are GoodLife Fitness Clubs, Sterling Trucks Corporation and CAW Local 1001. Other community partners include the Charles H. Ivey Foundation, London Community Foundation, and Shoppers Drug Mart. In addition to funds from the Ontario government, the ACT Foundation has received provincial-level funding to assist with community coordination of the program from Hydro One and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
The ACT Foundation’s goal in Ontario is to expand the CPR program to the remaining half of high schools in the province that do not yet have the program. To aid implementation, ACT has secured a commitment of $650,000 from the Ontario government through its public/private funding partnership model for mannequins and program start-up costs for schools.
“Training young people to save lives is an important investment into the health of our community,” says Deb Matthews, MPP, London North Centre. “The ACT program provides a wonderful opportunity for London students to learn a valuable skill; a skill that could one day save your life or mine.” ACT is now searching for matching community funding according to local needs as it brings the program to communities throughout the province. Once set up in all Ontario high schools, 150,000 youth will be trained in CPR every year.
About the ACT Foundation
The ACT Foundation is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting health and empowering Canadians to save lives. ACT is driving a national campaign to establish CPR as a mandatory program in every Canadian high school. ACT raises funds for CPR mannequins for schools and guides schools in program set up. The Foundation has already established the CPR program in over 700 high schools across Canada and over 700,000 youth have been trained to date. The Foundation and its core partners are winners of Imagine’s “New Spirit of Community Partnership” Award. Core partners are companies in the research-based pharmaceutical industry: AstraZeneca, Bristol- Myers Squibb Canada, Pfizer Canada and sanofi-aventis. They provide ACT’s sustaining funding and are committed to the Foundation’s national goal of promoting health and empowering youth to save lives. For more information visit: www.actfoundation.ca.