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Burns Lake, BC, March 7, 2014 –Today, teachers from Lakes District Secondary School will be trained to empower their students with Automated External Defibrillator (AED) skills as an enhancement to the ACT High School CPR Program. This training, to be held at the school, will result in nearly 70 students trained annually by their teachers to use these lifesaving skills.

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is working in partnership with BC Emergency Health Services, BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) and community partners to bring this program to Burns Lake..

Thanks to a donation from RBC, Lakes District Secondary School will receive AED training mannequins, AED training units, as well as an AED for in-school cardiac arrest emergencies in case a student, staff or visiting community member suffers a sudden cardiac arrest at the school.

“At RBC, we believe the health and wellness of local communities is of vital importance,” said Trent Waughtal, RBC Royal Bank Regional Vice President, BC North. “We are proud to be long-time supporters of The ACT Foundation and thrilled to be one of the community partners bringing CPR and AED training to School District # 91 Nechako Lakes Secondary Schools.”

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 223 public standard secondary schools throughout British Columbia, and approximately 281,000 students have already been empowered to save lives with CPR.

ACT is working with BC Emergency Health Services to enhance the CPR program with defibrillator training and AEDs for public secondary schools throughout British Columbia. ACT’s health partners who are committed to bringing the AED program to these schools, and to high schools across Canada, are AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada and Sanofi.

“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.”

Today’s teacher training is provided by BCAS paramedics and BCEHS Education Officers Julia Strain and Laine Smith, who are volunteering their 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.