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Kamloops, BC 10:00 a.m. – Today, the Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation, and partners will launch the ACT High School CPR and Defibrillator Program in the 10 public secondary schools of School District No. 73 Kamloops/Thompson. More than 1,100 students from the communities of Barriere, Chase, Clearwater, Logan Lake and Kamloops will be empowered by their teachers with essential lifesaving skills every year. The media event is being held at the Westsyde Secondary School, 855 Bebek Road, Kamloops, BC, V2B 6P1.

The ACT Foundation is the charitable organization that is establishing free CPR and defibrillator training programs in secondary schools throughout BC and across Canada. ACT is working in partnership with its provincial partner BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) paramedics and staff, lead community partner Interior Savings Credit Union, and health partners AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada and Sanofi Canada to bring this program to Kamloops/Thompson School District secondary schools.

“Each year, over 2,000 British Columbians die from sudden cardiac arrest. Having more people with the knowledge and skills to use CPR and defibrillators means significantly greater survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest victims,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “The ACT program empowers young people with lifesaving skills which is part of building a stronger health system throughout British Columbia.”

Funding will see participating secondary schools receive training equipment to enable teachers to train students. This includes Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training units, AED training mannequins, and program set-up that will see all students graduate with the skills and knowledge to save lives. Secondary schools will also receive a defibrillator for on-site cardiac arrest emergencies.

“This program is far-reaching, enabling our teachers to deliver life-saving training to students for years to come,” says Kathy Conway, President and CEO of Interior Savings. “By broadening the network of people trained in CPR and the use of defibrillators, and by investing in more AEDs in public spaces, we are helping to safeguard lives in our community.”

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.

“As a founding partner of the ACT Foundation, we have proudly watched this program expand to communities from coast to coast,” says Ed Dybka, President & CEO, AstraZeneca Canada. “Not only are youth learning critical skills that stay with them for a lifetime, they also gain an appreciation of the science behind the techniques and, in some cases, go on to pursue careers in such areas as nursing, medicine, and emergency services.”

“Seeing the expansion of ACT to more schools across Canada is a source of great pride for Sanofi Canada, a national partner in the program,” says Niven Al-Khoury, President and CEO of Sanofi Canada. “ACT’s CPR and AED program is unique to Canada and renders a critical service to our healthcare system and services.”

To date, the ACT High School CPR Program has been established in 226 public standard secondary schools throughout British Columbia and approximately 281,000 students have already been empowered to save lives with CPR.

“Each and every year the ACT Foundation’s CPR and AED program will enable approximately 44,000 students to gain the information, skills and confidence to save lives. These skills will assist them to help others throughout the rest of their lifetime. An investment worth our efforts,” said Dr. William Dick, Interim Vice President, Medical Programs of BCEHS.

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 our partners,” said Sandra Clarke, the ACT Foundation’s Executive Director. “With it, we can enhance the CPR program in the Kamloops/Thompson School District secondary schools with the addition of the defibrillator component. 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 1,700 high schools nation-wide, empowering more than 2.9 million youth to save lives.

About the ACT Foundation

The ACT Foundation is the national charitable organization that is establishing the CPR and AED program in Canadian high schools. 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 and AED training 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 partners who are committed to bringing the program to British Columbia are BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) and our national health partners, AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada and Sanofi Canada.