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Interior Savings and Osoyoos Credit Unions Help ACT Foundation Bring Defibrillator Program to Okanagan Similkameen School District Secondary Schools

Oliver, BC, November 8, 2012 –Today, 10 teachers from School District #53 Okanagan Similkameen 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 Oliver Parks and Recreation Center, will result in 200 students trained annually by their teachers to use these lifesaving skills.

Thanks to donations of $9,966 and $1,780 from Interior Savings Credit Union and Osoyoos Credit Union, respectively, public secondary schools in School District #53 Okanagan Similkameen will each receive defibrillator training mannequins, training units, as well as an AED for in-school cardiac arrest emergencies.

“Enabling teachers to train youth how to save a life is a tremendous asset to our communities,” said Kathy Conway, President and CEO of Interior Savings. “This program will have many benefits since it is sustainable over time, and we will continue to see its positive impact year after year.”

Teachers from Similkameen Elementary/Secondary School and Osoyoos and Southern Okanagan Secondary Schools will participate in today’s workshop to be trained as instructors for their students.

The ACT Foundation is the national charitable organization that is establishing CPR and defibrillator training programs in all Canadian high schools. To date, the ACT High School CPR Program has been established in 220 public standard secondary schools throughout British Columbia and approximately 235,000 students have already been empowered to save lives with CPR.

The ACT Foundation is working with the Emergency and Health Services Commission 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 all high schools across Canada, are AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada, and Sanofi.

Today’s teacher training is being provided by British Columbia Ambulance Service paramedic and CPR Instructor-Trainer Anne Benn, who is volunteering her time to teach the workshop.

“BC Ambulance Service paramedics attend over 3,000 cardiac arrest patients each year,” said BCAS Chief Operating Officer Les Fisher. “Although our dispatchers relay resuscitation instructions to 9-1-1 callers, a cardiac arrest victim’s best chance of survival is CPR and application of an AED by trained bystanders while the ambulance is enroute.”

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.

“We are thrilled with the support from Interior Savings and Osoyoos Credit Unions for this program,” said Sandra Clarke, the ACT Foundation’s Executive Director. “With their support, we can enhance the CPR program in Okanagan Similkameen School District public 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 1,600 high schools nation-wide, empowering more than 1.8 million youth to save lives.

Program Numbers in School District #53 Okanagan Similkameen

This partnership between the ACT Foundation and the Interior Savings and Osoyoos Credit Unions will allow the three (3) public secondary schools in School District #53 Okanagan Similkameen to receive:

  • 3 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs);
  • 8 AED training units;
  • 8 AED training mannequins;
  • 10 teachers trained as CPR and AED instructors for their students; and
  • 200 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 all 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, AED training units, and AED 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 all high schools across Canada are AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada, and Sanofi.