BARRIE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 4, 2011) - The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation, in partnership with the Government of Ontario and The Ontario Trillium Foundation, and lead community partners - the County of Simcoe, the Elston Foundation, the Optimist Club of Barrie and TransCanada Corporation, along with many community partners, is launching the ACT High School CPR and Defibrillator Training Program in the County of Simcoe. The launch will take place at 10:00 a.m. at Bear Creek Secondary School, 100 Red Oak Drive, Barrie, Ontario, L4N 9M5.

More than 6,500 Grade 9 students from 24 high schools in the Simcoe County District School Board and the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board will be empowered to save lives every year. Physical education teachers are trained as CPR and defibrillator instructors for their students. Hundreds of mannequins and over 50 defibrillator training units have been donated to schools. Students will take their lifesaving skills to their communities of Alliston, Barrie, Bradford, Collingwood, Elmvale, Innisfil, Midland, Orillia, Penetanguishene, Stayner and Tottenham.

The Hon. Aileen Carroll, P.C., MPP Barrie, believes, "Valuable time can be lost at the scene of someone in a cardiac arrest if there are not trained people available to administer CPR or use the portable defibrillator on site. Programs to train secondary school students and other citizens to assist in these situations are a valuable investment." 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 ACT Foundation is a national charitable organization dedicated to establishing CPR and defibrillator training in every Canadian high school. ACT's health partners who are committed to bringing the program to the Simcoe County and to all high schools across Canada include AstraZeneca Canada, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada, Pfizer Canada and sanofi-aventis. ACT has already established the CPR program in more than 1,500 high schools and over 1.7 million youth across Canada have been trained to date.

The Program is built on ACT's award-winning community-based model of partnerships and support. ACT raises funds for CPR mannequins and defibrillator training units for all high school schools and guides schools in program set up.

"The County of Simcoe is pleased to see this step taken in the training of our young people across this region," says County Warden Cal Patterson. "County Paramedics are already strong community partners in the training and education needs for CPR and defibrillation efforts as we have a number of programs in place to help residents. We also have a partnership with area schools so this new effort dovetails nicely and we congratulate the ACT Foundation for its efforts in Simcoe County."

"We are thrilled with the support of ACT's partners. Without them, this lifesaving program would not be possible," says ACT Foundation Executive Director Sandra Clarke. ACT's many community partners include: Alliston Lions Club, Collingwood Progress Club, Elmvale & District Lions Club, Kempenfelt Rotary Club, Knights of Columbus – Laurier Council, Midland Civitan Club, Penetanguishene Lions Club, Quota Club of Orillia, Rotary Club of Alliston, Rotary Club of Collingwood, Rotary Club of Orillia-Lake Country, Royal Canadian Legion – Penetanguishene and Stayner & District Kinsmen Club.

Contact Information: ACT Foundation
Jennifer Boissonneault
Toll free: 800-465-9111
Fax: 613-729-5837