DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – On Nov. 15, seven teachers from School District 59?s Electric Education, South Peace Secondary School and Tumbler Ridge Secondary School will be taking CPR Awareness Month to heart as they are trained to teach CPR to their students through the ACT High School CPR Program. They will be instructing over 325 local youth in this lifesaving skill each year. The training will take place at the District Resource Centre, 10512-13th Street.

The ACT High School CPR Program is built on a strong community-based model of partnerships and support, whereby ACT helps communities find local partners who donate the mannequins, curriculum materials, and teacher training that schools need to set up the program. Secondary school teachers then teach CPR to their students as a regular part of the curriculum, reaching all youth prior to graduation. In B.C., ACT is partnering with BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) and the Ambulance Paramedics of BC (APBC) to establish the program in all B.C. secondary schools. Full implementation in this province will see approximately 50,000 youth trained in CPR annually. Teacher training in B.C. is provided by local paramedics, who volunteer their time to prepare teachers to teach the program to their students. The Nov. 15 teacher training is being taught by Judie Stanley an APBC Paramedic and CPR Instructor.

Cardiovascular disease is the second leading cause of death and accounts for more than one fifth of all deaths in B.C. Research indicates citizen CPR response can improve survival rate for victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest by almost fourfold. With eight in 10 out-of-hospital 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.

In addition to empowering youth to save lives, the ACT Program has a strong health promotion message, says Sandra Clarke, Executive Director of the ACT Foundation, an award-winning, national charitable organization dedicated to establishing CPR training as a mandatory program in all Canadian high schools. ?Students learn about risk factors for heart disease and the importance of adopting heart healthy lifestyle behaviors at a young age. They will then bring their health promotion message and lifesaving skills to their present and future families,? says Clarke.

In B.C., HYDRECS is playing a key role in establishing the ACT High School CPR Program in School District 59. HYDRECS has donated $100,000 to establish the program in 12 B.C. school districts. In SD 59, this has enabled the donation of 40 CPR mannequins.

?HYDRECS is supported by BC Hydro employees and retirees. HYDRECS funds projects that improve the quality of life of British Columbians in the communities in which they live. We are proud to be an integral part of bringing the ACT High School CPR Program to life in many of B.C.?s secondary schools. The potential impact of having all Grade 10 teachers and their students trained in the important skills of CPR is the saving of many lives this year and every year from now on,? says Mark Davison, Chair of the HYDRECS Committee.

The CPR program was set up in SD 59?s Chetwynd Secondary School in 2005 through seed funding from the BCAS and APBC to get the program started in this community. Thanks to HYDRECS? support, the program will now be brought to all secondary schools in the district.

To date, more than 900,000 students from over 1,000 schools have been empowered to save lives through the ACT High School CPR Program. The program is supported at the national level by: AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada, Pfizer Canada and sanofi-aventis.

About the ACT Foundation

The ACT Foundation is a national, award-winning charitable organization dedicated to promoting health and empowering Canadians to save lives. ACT is driving a national campaign to establish 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 and its core partners are winners of Imagine Canada?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. They provide ACT?s sustaining funding and are committed to the Foundation?s national goal of promoting health and empowering Canadians to save lives. For more information visit: www.actfoundation.ca.