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Smithers, BC, June 23, 2015 – Today, teachers from Houston and Smithers Secondary Schools will be trained as instructors to empower students with CPR and defibrillator skills, as well as heart health knowledge, through the award-winning ACT High School CPR and Defibrillator Program. This training, to be held at Smithers Secondary School, will result in more than 150 students trained every year by their teachers to use these lifesaving skills.

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is working in partnership with British Columbia Emergency Health Services (BCEHS), British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS) and community partners to bring this program to School District # 54 Bulkley Valley secondary schools.

Thanks to a donation from RBC and support from our health partners – AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada and Sanofi Canada, the two secondary schools are each receiving Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training units, AED training mannequins, curriculum materials and program set-up.

“At RBC, we believe the health and wellness of local communities is of vital importance,” said Jennifer Briand, RBC Branch Manager, Smithers. “We are proud to be long-time supporters of The ACT Foundation and thrilled to be the community partner bringing CPR and AED training to School District # 54 Bulkley Valley”

“It’s a privilege to partner in this way with high schools and teachers, who already work so hard to prepare our children to meet life’s challenges and act as responsible citizens,” said John Helou, President, Pfizer Canada Inc. “The ACT program adds an irreplaceable element to the high school experience. For some students, this training might one day make the difference between tragedy and saving a life.”

The ACT Foundation is the national charitable organization that is establishing CPR and defibrillator training programs in Canadian high schools. To date, the ACT High School CPR Program has been established in 224 public standard secondary schools throughout British Columbia and approximately 281,000 students have already been empowered to save lives with CPR.

Today’s teacher training is being provided by BCEHS Education Officer and paramedic Julia Strain, who is volunteering her time to teach the workshop.

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.

“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.

“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 Bulkley Valley 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.

Program Numbers in School District # 54 Bulkley Valley

The two (2) public secondary schools in School District # 54 Bulkley Valley are receiving in total:

  • 6 AED training units;
  • 6 AED training mannequins.

This initiative will result in:

  • 8 teachers trained as CPR and AED instructors for their students; and
  • More than 150 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 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 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 Canada.