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>Over 70 students from this school will be trained annually

Fort Nelson, BC, April 3, 2013 –Today, teachers from Fort Nelson Secondary School will be trained to empower students with lifesaving CPR and defibrillator skills and heart health knowledge through the award-winning ACT High School CPR and Defibrillator Program. This training, to be held at Fort Nelson Secondary School, will result in over 70 Grade 10 students trained annually by their teachers to use these lifesaving skills.

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is working in partnership with the Emergency and Health Services Commission, British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS) and community partners to bring this program to Fort Nelson.

In addition to the CPR and defibrillation training program for students, the secondary school will also receive an automated external defibrillator (AED), which will be available in case a student, staff or visiting community member suffers a sudden cardiac arrest at the school.

In School District # 81 Fort Nelson, ACT is receiving funding from community partners AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada and Sanofi for a class set of CPR training mannequins and community partner Iridia Medical (formerly known as Global Medical Services) is providing AED training units and contributing funding for AED training mannequins to Fort Nelson Secondary School, as well as an AED for in-school cardiac arrest emergencies.

“Since our inception, Iridia Medical has been passionate about increasing community access to AEDs and CPR training within BC”, said Vern Biccum, President of Iridia Medical. “The work conducted by the ACT Foundation aligns with this passion, and we are very proud to be collaborating on such a meaningful opportunity that will equip the youth of Fort Nelson with the skills and knowledge necessary to save lives.”

The ACT Foundation is the national charitable organization that is establishing CPR and defibrillator training programs in all Canadian high schools. To date, the ACT High School CPR Program has been established in 220 public standard secondary schools throughout British Columbia and approximately 235,000 students have already been empowered to save lives with CPR.

Today’s teacher training is being provided by British Columbia Ambulance Service paramedic and CPR instructor Sirita Hoenen, who is volunteering her time to teach the workshop.

“BC Ambulance Service paramedics attend over 3,000 cardiac arrest patients each year,” said BCAS Chief Operating Officer Les Fisher. “Although our dispatchers relay resuscitation instructions to 9-1-1 callers, a cardiac arrest victim’s best chance of survival is CPR and application of an AED by trained bystanders while the ambulance is enroute.”

With eight in 10 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurring at home or in public places, empowering youth with CPR training as part of their high school education will help increase citizen CPR response rates over the long term. Moreover, early CPR, combined with early defibrillation can increase survival rates for cardiac arrest victims by up to 75%, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

“We are thrilled with the support from AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada, Sanofi and Iridia Medical for this program,” said Sandra Clarke, the ACT Foundation’s Executive Director. “With their support, we can implement the CPR and AED program in Fort Nelson Secondary School. These are lifesaving skills that students will be able to bring to their current and future families and communities.”

To date, the ACT Foundation has set up the ACT High School CPR Program in more than 1,600 high schools nation-wide, empowering more than 1.8 million youth to save lives.

Program Numbers in Fort Nelson Secondary School

These partnerships between the ACT Foundation and AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada, Sanofi and Iridia Medical will allow Fort Nelson Secondary School participating in today’s workshop to receive:

  • 1 Automated External Defibrillator (AED);
  • 25 CPR training mannequins;
  • 3 AED training units;
  • 3 AED training mannequins;
  • 3 teachers trained as CPR and AED instructors for their students; and
  • Over 70 students will learn CPR and AED skills each year.

About the ACT Foundation

The ACT Foundation is the national charitable organization that is establishing the CPR and AED program in high schools across Canada. The program is built on ACT’s award-winning community-based model of partnerships and support, whereby ACT finds local partners who donate the mannequins, AED training units, and AED units that schools need to set up the program. Secondary school teachers then teach CPR and how to use a defibrillator to their students as a regular part of the curriculum, reaching all youth prior to graduation. ACT’s health partners who are committed to bringing the program to British Columbia and to high schools across Canada are AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada, and Sanofi.