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It was an exciting day before Christmas break at Queen Charlotte Secondary School. Emmy, food and nutrition class teacher was getting ingredients at the pantry next to the school’s kitchen to make gingerbread houses with her class.

“I just finished training my students in CPR that week,” says Emmy. “As I was walking back to the kitchen, I noticed a student who wasn’t part of my class following me, her hands clutching her neck.”

Emmy quickly realized the young girl was choking. “She looked scared. I asked her if she could breathe and she nodded no.”

Immediately, Emmy asked a couple of her own students to go call the emergency services as she proceeded with abdominal thrusts on the young girl. After the fifth thrust, the young girl started to breathe again.

“It was very surreal. I was completely on auto-pilot,” recalls Emmy who was trained as an ACT High School CPR and AED instructor a couple of months prior. She’s demonstrated the Obstructed Airway Manoeuvre at least a dozen of times in front of her class the week leading to the incident.

“Practicing CPR gives you confidence, which makes all the difference. If I had not received the ACT training, and if I had not delivered the course to my class, I would have not known what to do,” she shares.
The ACT High School CPR and AED Program was set up in Queen Charlotte Secondary School in Haida Gwaii, thanks to the support of community partner, RBC, provincial partner, BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) paramedics and staff, and health partners AstraZeneca Canada, Sanofi Canada, and Amgen Canada.

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is an award-winning, national charitable organization dedicated to establishing CPR and AED training programs in high schools across Canada. ACT raises funds to donate mannequins and teacher training to schools, and guides schools in program set-up and long-term sustainability. Over 3.6 million youth have been trained in CPR by their teachers through this lifesaving program to date.