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CALGARY – Tuesday, October 30, 2001, 10:00 a.m., Western Canada High School, 641 – 17th Avenue S.W. — Today, the ACT Foundation, the Kiwanis Clubs of Calgary and community partners launch the ACT High School CPR Program in Calgary. This initiative will result in 8,000 Grade 10 students from over 20 schools from the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) being empowered to save lives with CPR training. The four-hour CPR course will be taught to all Grade 10 students by the physical education teachers every year.

The Kiwanis Clubs of Calgary, as lead community partners, are donating about 1,000 mannequins to schools. “Kiwanis Clubs of Calgary serve the needs of the community in which its members live and work. This project empowers young people to assume responsibility and to save lives. Everyone in the community benefits and one never knows, the life saved may be yours,” says Murray Smith, Chair of the Kiwanis Committee for the ACT High School CPR Program. Joining the Kiwanis Club of Calgary-Chinook, the Kiwanis Club of Calgary-Downtown, the Kiwanis Club of Calgary-Foothills, the Kiwanis Club of Calgary-Northmount and the Kiwanis Club of Calgary-Metro in this partnership is the Calgary Community Lottery Board, which has approved a $60,000 grant for mannequins and program setup costs for CBE schools. The Calgary Herald, as a key partner, donates the printing of the student manuals and teacher kits.

Through the ACT High School CPR Program, students will be prepared to help a parent or grandparent should they experience a heart attack, a brother, sister or child they are babysitting should they choke, or a friend involved in a drowning emergency. “The Chain of Survival begins at the moment a patient’s illness or injury occurs. The first link must be strong, durable and talented. The ACT High School CPR Program builds that link and we at STARS are proud to play a role,” says Dr. Greg Powell, CEO of the STARS Foundation. As founding provincial partner of the ACT High School CPR Program, the STARS Foundation has committed $159,000 to help implement the program throughout Alberta.

The Calgary Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department is a valuable partner in the ACT High School CPR Program, training high school teachers as CPR instructors for the program. “When a person sustains a sudden cardiac arrest, each passing second erodes their chances of survival. For every minute that passes, the chance for successful resuscitation decreases by seven to 10 per cent. Early CPR has long been proven to positively impact survivability. Unfortunately, less than 20 per cent of sudden cardiac arrest victims receive CPR before the paramedics arrive. Our partnership with the ACT Foundation and the Calgary Board of Education will help ensure that more of today’s youth and tomorrow’s adults have the skills to help save a life,” says Chief Tom Sampson, Director of EMS for the Calgary EMS Department.

Schools embrace the program with enthusiasm. “When seconds are critical and the well-being of an individual hangs in the balance, the knowledge our students will gain in this program will be invaluable. It will undoubtedly save lives,” says Pat Cochrane, Chair of the CBE. Several schools in the Calgary Catholic School Board will also soon begin implementing the CPR program.

The ACT Foundation, the Kiwanis clubs, the STARS Foundation and local partners are committed to expand the ACT High School CPR Program in Calgary and throughout Alberta. Province-wide implementation will see over 45,000 high school students trained in CPR every year.

“Today’s announcement is part of the work underway over the next five years to implement CPR instruction across Alberta as part of the Phys Ed 10 curriculum,” says Dr. Lyle Oberg, Minister of Learning. “Having students learn this key lifesaving skill recognizes the important role schools play in not only preparing students in the core subject areas but also in helping them become contributing members within their community.”

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to establishing CPR as required learning in every Canadian high school. ACT 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, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta. ACT’s corporate health partners are committed to ACT’s cross-Canada expansion of the program. They are companies in the research-intensive pharmaceutical industry: AstraZeneca, Aventis Pharma, Pfizer Canada and Pharmacia Canada.