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On a spring afternoon, 18-year old Kiera was working as a lifeguard at W.C. Blair Recreation Centre in Langley, British Columbia. It was a routine day. She was scanning the pool and ensuring all of the swimmers were safe, when suddenly, she found herself in an unexpected situation.

“Someone ran up to me and said a man in the sauna needed help. I ran over, opened the sauna door and I saw a man who was in a lot of distress and was seizing on the sauna bench. I blew my whistle, called for other lifeguards to help, and together we pulled the man out of the sauna” recounts Kiera.

She and the other lifeguards then monitored the man’s airway and breathing, called 911 and managed the scene noting it was a fair amount of time before the man stopped seizing.

“Adrenaline kicked in and my body just sort of felt like it knew what to do. I was really confident with the skills that I had thanks to knowing CPR and First Aid.”

Along with her lifeguarding training, Kiera learnt CPR in her Grade 10 physical education class as a part of the ACT High School CPR Program.

“I think it is very helpful that teachers teach all the students CPR. Having learnt CPR in school helped me to take charge of the situation because I knew what to do” says Kiera.

The man she helped has since recovered and Kiera continues to work as lifeguard with the confidence and knowledge that she has the skills to save a life.

The ACT High School CPR Program was made possible in Kiera’s school thanks to generous community and provincial-level support that enabled the donation of mannequins, teacher training and curriculum resources. The lead community partner in Kiera’s community is Envision Charitable Foundation. Provincial partners of the program are BC Ambulance Service and Ambulance Paramedics of BC – CUPE Local 873.

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is an award-winning, national charitable organization dedicated to establishing CPR in high schools across Canada. ACT raises funds to donate mannequins, teacher training, manuals and other materials to schools, and guides schools in program set-up and long-term sustainability. High School teachers teach CPR to their students as a regular part of the curriculum. More than 1.7 million youth have been trained in CPR through this lifesaving program to date.

Health partners supporting the program in British Columbia and throughout Canada are: AstraZeneca Canada, 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.