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Algoma District School Board students to be empowered to save lives

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ontario, June 8, 2005 — High school students in the Algoma District School Board will be empowered to save lives through a new program launched by the Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation of Canada with support from the Ontario government and local community partners. Launched today at 10:30 a.m. at White Pines Collegiate and Vocational School, the program will see approximately 1,500 local Grade 9 students from all 11 Algoma high schools trained in the lifesaving skill of CPR every year.

To date, the ACT Foundation has fundraised for mannequins to bring the program to half of Ontario high schools. Due to the tremendous demand for this program, the Ontario government has committed half the remaining funds needed to expand the ACT High School CPR Program to all Ontario high schools through a public-private matching funds model. Once implemented in all Ontario high schools, 155,000 Grade 9 students will be trained in the lifesaving skill of CPR every year.

The Kiwanis Club of Lakeshore and the Kiwanis Club of Sault Ste. Marie have worked with the ACT Foundation to bring together partners to donate the resources required for teachers to deliver the program. The clubs have spearheaded a campaign to raise the matching half of Ontario government funding to bring the program to their community, rallying the support of Algoma Steel Inc., G-P Flakeboard Company, Keith Spencer Trucking Ltd., McDougall Fuels, PUC Services Inc., and Viau Financial Group to outfit all 11 Algoma District School Board high schools with the necessary resources to deliver the high school CPR program, donating 300 mannequins.

Research indicates that CPR response by citizens can improve the out-of-hospital survival rate for cardiac arrest almost fourfold. With 85 per cent of cardiac arrests occurring at home, empowering youth with CPR training as part of their high school education will help increase citizen CPR response rates over the long term.

Dr. Paul Hoogeveen has volunteered to be the Medical Director for the program and St. John Ambulance in Sault Ste. Marie has come aboard as the teacher-training partner in the program, ensuring all Grade 9 physical education teachers are trained to deliver the CPR course to their students.

“Currently in Algoma we have a bystander CPR rate that is slightly over 20%. This is good compared to an average bystander CPR rate of 15% in the rest of Ontario,” says Dr. Paul Hoogeveen, Medical Director for ambulance services in Algoma. “Other areas such a Seattle, Washington have bystander CPR rates as high as 60%. This translates to and out-of-hospital survival rate for cardiac arrest that is at least 3 to 4 times better than Ontario or Algoma. Twenty percent is too low when this easy to learn procedure can save lives. I believe the ACT program along with other community initiatives will improve our rates of bystander CPR and survival from cardiac arrest in the future.”

Through the ACT High School CPR Program, every Grade 9 student in the Sault Ste. Marie and surrounding region will will be prepared to help a parent or grandparent should they experience a heart attack; a brother, sister or child they are babysitting should they choke; or a friend involved in a drowning emergency. Schools participating in this launch encompass the communities of Sault Ste. Marie, Desbarats, Chapleau, Elliot Lake, Hornepayne, Wawa, and Blind River.

In addition to the Ontario government, the Kiwanis Clubs of Lakeshore and Sault Ste. Marie, and St. John Ambulance, Shoppers Drug Mart, Hydro One, and the Ontario Trillium Foundation have helped bring the program to Sault Ste. Marie through a provincial partnership to help bring the ACT High School CPR Program to communities across the province.

“This community support is a tremendous boost to ACT’s efforts in Ontario, as we endeavor to bring our CPR program to all Ontario high schools.” said ACT Foundation Executive Director Sandra Clarke. “This lifesaving program is simply not possible without this kind of funding support for training mannequins needed by schools.”
About the ACT Foundation
The ACT Foundation is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to establishing CPR as a mandatory program in every Canadian high school. ACT raises funds for CPR mannequins for schools and guides schools in program set-up. The foundation has already established the CPR program in over 700 high schools across Canada. By the end of the 2004-2005 school year, over 700,000 Canadian students will have been trained to date through this program.

The ACT Foundation’s corporate health partners are companies in the research-based pharmaceutical industry: AstraZeneca, Pfizer Canada and sanofi-aventis. They provide ACT’s sustaining funding and are committed to the foundation’s national goal of empowering youth to save lives. For more information visit: www.actfoundation.ca.