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PORT MOODY, BC – December 3, 2013 – Today, the Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation and supporting partners announce the official launch of the ACT High School Defibrillator Training Program in the Tri-Cities area.

Each year, more than 2,500 Grade 10 students from the eight public secondary schools in School District No. 43 Coquitlam and the independent Catholic school will be empowered to save lives.

The ACT Foundation is the national charitable organization that is establishing free CPR and defibrillator training programs in high schools across Canada. To date, the ACT High School CPR Program has been established in over 220 public standard secondary schools throughout British Columbia and approximately 281,000 students have already been empowered to save lives with CPR.

ACT raises funds for mannequins, Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training units and curriculum materials for all high schools, and guides schools in program set-up. ACT’s health partners – AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada and Sanofi – provide sustaining funding for the Foundation and are committed to bringing the CPR and defibrillation program to secondary schools in the Tri-Cities area, as well as across Canada.

ACT is working in partnership with BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS), BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) and community partners to bring this program to all of British Columbia’s public standard secondary schools. BCEHS provides ongoing project funding, and BCAS paramedics when and where available volunteer their time to train secondary school teachers to teach their students CPR and how to use an AED. Once the program is set up in all public standard secondary schools, approximately 45,000 youth will be trained in CPR each year.

“Each year, the ACT Foundation’s CPR and AED program will enable approximately 45,000 students to gain the information, skills and confidence to save lives,” says Dr. William Dick, Interim Vice President, Medical Programs, BC Emergency Health Services. “These skills will assist them to help others throughout the rest of their lifetime.”

In School District No. 43 Coquitlam, ACT’s community partners are RBC, AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada and Sanofi. Thanks to their generous support, participating secondary schools in the communities of Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam have received 40 AED training mannequins, 40 AED training units and teacher training as instructors to support this lifesaving program.

“At RBC, we believe the health and wellness of local communities is of vital importance,” says Jan Phillips, Manager of Client Care, RBC Port Moody Branch. “We are proud to be long-time supporters of the ACT Foundation and are thrilled to be the community partner bringing CPR and AED training to School District #43 Coquitlam secondary schools.”

“It’s a privilege to partner in this way with high schools and teachers, who already work so hard to prepare our children to meet life’s challenges and act as responsible citizens,” says John Helou, President, Pfizer Canada Inc. “The ACT program adds an irreplaceable element to the high school experience. For some students, this training might one day make the difference between tragedy and saving a life.”

Four in five out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur at home or in public places. Early CPR, combined with the use of an AED within the first few minutes, can improve survival rates for cardiac arrest victims by up to 75 per cent, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.