Local schools to empower students to save lives

Houston and Smithers schools will be incorporating CPR and AED (defibrillator) training into the high school curriculum starting September.

Houston and Smithers teachers were trained as instructors for CPR and using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). That training will be incorporated into schools starting next year.

Houston and Smithers teachers were trained as instructors for CPR and using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). That training will be incorporated into schools starting next year.

Houston and Smithers schools will be empowering students to save lives starting this September.

The program was coordinated by the Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation.

School District 54 teachers were certified last Tuesday as instructors for CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) training – trained by volunteer paramedics from B.C. Emergency Health Services.

That CPR and AED training will be worked into the grade 10 Physical Education and Planning 10 curriculums next September.

Sandra Clarke, Executive Director of the ACT Foundation said she is excited about what the program means.

“We are thrilled to bring this program to Smithers and Houston because we know that it will ensure that every young person is empowered to save the life of a family member or friend in a dire emergency,” she said.

The program has seen results in the communities it has gone, with students stepping up to save lives in all kinds of emergencies.

“The beauty of having [the training] as part of a school program is that the ripple effect is extraordinary,” Clarke said.

After next year, “we will see 200 students hit the ground running with their life-saving skills every year.”

There are close to 50 Houston students and 150 Smithers students who will be trained to do CPR and use a defibrillator every two years.

“Every five years, that is over 1,000 students,” Clarke said.

To date, three million students in Canada have been trained in CPR by teachers.

She says the goal of the program is to “ensure that eventually everyone is trained in CPR.”

By raising up generations to know CPR and how to use a defibrillator, it will “really increase the chances of saving lives,” Clarke said.

“It’s terribly exciting.”

The AED equipment and dummies were donated to the school district by RBC, AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada and Sanofi Canada.

SD54 Superintendent Chris van der Mark says emergencies can happen anywhere, in the home and in the workplace, and it is help students be prepared.

“These are life saving skills and you never know when you are going to need them,” he said.