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ACT National High School CPR Program Reaches B.C.

OTTAWA, ONTARIO, 24/02/06

Would you know what to do if faced with a cardiac emergency?
Imagine a cross-Canada lifeline of emergency responders who do. A lifeline made up of the country’s youth, all equipped with the knowledge and skills to save a life.

The recent expansion of the award-winning ACT High School CPR Program to British Columbia brings this concept one step closer, says Sandra Clarke, executive director of the Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation, the non-profit organization that created the program.

“With tens of thousands of Canadian youth being equipped each year with the knowledge to prevent cardiovascular disease and the skills to respond in emergency situations, the potential for saving lives is endless,” says Clarke. She adds the program is especially important given that research indicates eight in 10 cardiac arrests occur at home and citizen CPR can improve survival rates for victims of cardiac arrest by almost fourfold.

The ACT High School CPR Program in B.C. will officially launch on Feb. 24 in Surrey. ACT is working in partnership with the BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) and its paramedics’ union, the Ambulance Paramedics of BC (APBC), to bring the program to B.C. high schools. Other communities launching the program in February and March are Comox Valley and Kamloops. Upon completion of a “20-school phase,” the program will see about 6,000 B.C. students from 17 communities trained in CPR every year. These students will join the more than 700,000 Canadian youth in over 700 high schools who have been trained through the ACT High School CPR Program to date.

With recent findings from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada revealing that poor lifestyle choices of today’s aging baby boomers are increasing their susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and other health problems, Clarke says ACT’s legion of heart-smart youth could not be more timely — or more necessary.

“These youth are the lifesavers of both today and tomorrow,” says Clarke. “And with the possibility of an impending increase in cardiovascular disease, they are truly needed more than ever.”

About the ACT Foundation
The ACT Foundation is a national, non-profit organization driving a national campaign to establish CPR as a mandatory program in every Canadian high school. The Foundation and its core partners are winners of Imagine’s “New Spirit of Community Partnership” Award. Core partners are companies in the research-based pharmaceutical industry: AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada, Pfizer Canada and sanofi-aventis. For more information visit:www.actfoundation.ca.