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VANCOUVER, 28/11/08

The ACT Foundation, in partnership with the British Columbia Ambulance Service and the Ambulance Paramedics of British Columbia – CUPE Local 873, is thrilled to announce that 6,500 students in three BC school districts will be empowered to save lives each year, thanks to a generous donation from the Envision Credit Union Charitable Foundation.

“I congratulate the ACT Foundation and their partners for promoting healthy living while empowering students to save lives,” said Mary Polak, Min of Healthy Living and Sport. “CPR is a life saving skill that I would encourage all British Columbians to learn.”

The ACT High School CPR Program will be launched in School District No. 43 Coquitlam and School District No. 35 Langley on Friday Nov. 28 and in School District No. 23 Central Okanagan On Monday Dec. 1. These launches will celebrate CPR Awareness Month and will recognize Envision Credit Union Charitable Foundation for its donation of $65,560 for mannequins and curriculum resources for local schools. This donation is part of a greater commitment of $159,080 that Envision has made to 18 BC communities.

“The mission of the Envision Charitable Foundation is to support initiatives that enhance the quality of life in our communities,” explains Seline Kutan, Executive Director of the Envision Charitable Foundation. “There’s no question that equipping our youth with the skills to save people’s lives will help fulfill that mission. It’s exciting to be partnering with the ACT Foundation in bringing CPR training to thousands of students throughout BC.”

Eight in 10 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur at home and research indicates that citizen CPR can improve survival rates by almost fourfold.

The British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS) and its paramedics’ union, the Ambulance Paramedics of British Columbia – CUPE Local 873 (APBC), work in partnership with the ACT Foundation and community partners to bring the ACT High School CPR Program to all BC public secondary schools. To date, the program has been established in 147 BC schools and 83,000 students have been trained.

“It’s estimated that only 15 per cent of British Columbians know CPR,” said BCAS Vice-President of Medical Programs Dr. Jim Christenson. “Even with the best technology, medical expertise and timely deployment of first responders, the best chance for someone in cardiac arrest is still to have a bystander perform CPR until paramedics can provide professional CPR and defibrillation.”
BCAS provides ongoing project funding and Ambulance Paramedics of BC volunteer their time to train secondary school teachers to teach CPR to their students.

“By volunteering their time in schools across BC, paramedics will bring this life saving skill to as many students as possible, giving them the confidence to react during an emergency,” said APBC President John Strohmaier. “Our sincere hope is that by supporting young people to become well-versed in CPR we’ll witness more positive outcomes for the thousands of cardiac arrest patients we treat and transport each year.”

The ACT Foundation is a national, award-winning charitable organization dedicated to promoting health and empowering Canadians to save lives. ACT’s national partners are AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada, Pfizer Canada and sanofi-aventis. They provide sustaining funding and are committed to the Foundation’s goal of establishing CPR as a mandatory program in every Canadian high school.

“We are thrilled with the support of ACT’s partners. Without them, the program would not be possible,” says ACT Foundation Executive Director Sandra Clarke.

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