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Victoria teachers empower local students to save lives with CPR training and heart health education

VICTORIA, B.C., 01/02/08

In the spirit of Heart Month, Feb. 1st will see 20 physical education teachers from six schools within School District 61 Victoria trained to empower their students with lifesaving CPR and heart health education all year long through the award-winning ACT High School CPR Program.

Teachers will participate in an ACT teacher workshop at Spectrum Community School, 957 West Burnside Rd. They will join teachers in Victoria who received this training in 2006. Together, these teachers will empower over 1,200 local youth with CPR each year.

The ACT High School CPR Program is made possible by the Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation in partnership with BC Hydro Employees’ Community Services Fund (HYDRECS) at the community level and BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) and the Ambulance Paramedics of BC (APBC) at the provincial level. At the community level, HYDRECS is playing a key role in establishing the program in School District 61 through a $100,000 donation to establish the program in 12 B.C. school districts. In School District 61, this has enabled the donation of 150 CPR mannequins.

“We are proud to be an integral part of bringing the ACT High School CPR Program to life in many of B.C.’s secondary schools. The potential impact of having all Grade 10 teachers and their students trained in the important skills of CPR is the saving of many lives this year and every year from now on,” says Mark Davison, Chair of the HYDRECS Committee.

The ACT Program is built on a strong community-based model of partnerships and support, whereby ACT helps communities find local partners who donate the mannequins, curriculum materials, and teacher training that schools need to set up the program. Secondary school teachers then teach CPR to their students as a regular part of the curriculum, reaching all youth prior to graduation. In B.C., ACT is partnering with BCAS and APBC to establish the program in all B.C. secondary standard schools. Full implementation in this province will see approximately 50,000 youth trained in CPR annually. In 2006, the CPR program was set up in two Victoria schools through seed funding from the BCAS and APBC to get the program started in this community. Teacher training in B.C. is provided by local paramedics, who volunteer their time to prepare teachers to teach the program to their students. The Feb. 1st training is being taught by Iggy Gotuaco and Darrel Cragg, APBC Paramedics and CPR instructors.

The ACT High School Program is supported at the national level by companies in the research-based pharmaceutical industry: AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada, Pfizer Canada and sanofi-aventis.

“This program is providing youth with the priceless ability to safe lives,” says MLA Murray Coell. “This is a highly coordinated, successful program that is catching on like wild fire throughout the province and something that is going to put B.C. high school students out in front.”

In addition to empowering youth to save lives, the ACT Program has a strong health promotion message, says Sandra Clarke, Executive Director of the ACT Foundation, an award-winning, national charitable organization dedicated to establishing CPR training as a mandatory program in all Canadian high schools. “Students learn about risk factors for heart disease and the importance of adopting heart healthy lifestyle behaviors at a young age. They will then bring their health promotion message and lifesaving skills to their present and future families,” says Clarke.

Cardiovascular disease is the second leading cause of death and accounts for more than one fifth of all deaths in B.C. Research indicates citizen CPR response can improve survival rate for victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest by almost fourfold. With eight in 10 out-of-hospital 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.

To date, the ACT Foundation has set up the ACT High School CPR Program in over 1,200 schools nation-wide, empowering more than 900,000 youth to save lives.

About the ACT Foundation
The ACT Foundation is a national, award-winning charitable 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 and its core partners are winners of Imagine Canada’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 Canadians to save lives. For more information visit: www.actfoundation.ca.