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Teachers training as CPR and AED instructors for their students.
CONTRIBUTION · 28th June 2013
Michelle Rose
On Tuesday, teachers from Caledonia Secondary School and Mount Elizabeth Middle Secondary School attended a workshop at Caledonia Secondary School, where they were trained as CPR and AED instructors for their students through the award-winning ACT High School CPR & AED Program.

The program is built on a strong community-based model of partnerships and support, whereby the ACT Foundation helps communities find local partners who donate CPR & AED training mannequins, AED training units, teacher training and curriculum materials that schools need to set up the program. Teachers then teach CPR and AED skills to their students as a regular part of the curriculum, reaching all youth prior to graduation.

The ACT Foundation is working with the Emergency and Health Services Commission, BC Ambulance Service 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.

In the Coast Mountains School District, ACT’s partnership with Iridia Medical ensures that the two public secondary schools will receive two AED units for on-site emergencies, as well as eight AED training units and eight AED training mannequins. Hazelton Secondary School received the ACT High School CPR and AED Program implementation in 2011.

“Since our inception, Iridia Medical has been passionate about increasing community access to AEDs and CPR training within BC”, said Vern Biccum, President of Iridia Medical. “The work conducted by the ACT Foundation aligns with this passion, and we are very proud to be collaborating on such a meaningful opportunity that will equip the youth of Kitimat and Terrace with the skills and knowledge necessary to save lives.”

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.

The teacher training was provided by British Columbia Ambulance Service paramedic and CPR Instructor Gil Kurtz, who volunteered his 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.”

“We are thrilled with the support from our partners,” said Sandra Clarke, the ACT Foundation’s Executive Director. “With it, we can enhance the CPR program in Caledonia Secondary School and Mount Elizabeth Middle Secondary School 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 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.