Fort Nelson Secondary now equipped to save lives!

Earlier this year, we highlighted a partnership we’d developed with the Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation aimed at bringing CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training to the youth in our Province’s high schools – view here.

To recap, the ACT Foundation is a national charitable organization that is establishing CPR and defibrillator training programs in all Canadian high schools as a regular part of the school curriculum. The program is built on a model of establishing community-based partnerships and support, whereby ACT finds local partners to donate equipment – such as training mannequins, AED training units and AED units – that schools need to set up the program. Training is also a key component. Teachers in secondary schools are trained in CPR and defibrillator use and they, in turn, will act as instructors for their students. The aim of the program is to ensure that all youth prior to graduation could effectively treat someone who is having a sudden cardiac arrest.

ACT Foundation Training

In continued support of this program, Iridia teamed up again with the ACT Foundation and with BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) earlier this month to help bring the program to Fort Nelson Secondary School, with two teachers from this school participating in the teacher-training workshop. The workshop was delivered by BCAS’ paramedic and CPR instructor, Sirita Hoenen, who generously volunteered her time to teach the workshop. Iridia’s support comprised the donation of equipment – including AED training units and an AED – along with the provision of funding for the AED mannequins and program resources. As a result of the teacher-training conducted, over 70 Grade 10 students from Fort Nelson Secondary School will be trained annually by their teachers to potentially save lives.

“Increasing community access to AEDs and CPR training within BC has always been an important focus for Iridia”, said Vern Biccum, President of Iridia Medical. “Our company started with pioneering AED programs in the workplace and we have been active in bringing AEDs and CPR training to the community ever since. Collaborating with the ACT Foundation to now bring life-saving skills and equipment to the youth of our communities is an opportunity on which we place great importance and with which we’re proud to be associated.”

As a result of the program and Iridia’s participation in it, Fort Nelson Secondary School will now have an AED available for their use, along with the associated skills and knowledge, should a student, staff or visitor to the school suffer a sudden cardiac arrest.

Iridia will continue to partner with the ACT Foundation, with another workshop scheduled for June to be provided to schools in Kitimat and Terrace.

It’s Never Too Late For AED Training

Every Tuesday night a group of ex-university basketball players get together to duke it out on the court. This may not be all that unusual, unless you factor in the fact that the players are in their 60s and 70s.

Aptly named, the “Tuesday Knights”,this group of men is still committed to being active and to sharing their love of the game. It`s no small feat to be playing a sport with that kind of intensity at their age, but as evidenced in this Greg Douglas column in the Vancouver Sun, one member of the group accomplished an amazing feat.  


John McLean, 74 last week, joined a group of young guys at the YMCA on Burrard for a spontaneous free-throw showdown. Seven straight was the number he had to beat. McLean, a Magee high school grad and UBC alumnus, nailed 61 free throws in a row as jaws dropped from the crowd that quickly gathered. “I was getting tired and although I didn’t try to miss on purpose, I was glad when I did,” he said. “I’ve never been in a groove like that before.”

Read more:  The Vancouver Sun

Having said that, there are some natural concerns about 60 and 70 year olds demonstrating that level of physical exertion every week. At their age, the risk of a cardiac event is higher than it was in their younger days. For this reason, the group decided to purchase an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and were trained in its use by our founder, Dr. Allan Holmes.

“I was approached at a golf tournament by one of the Knights’  members who was aware that many golf courses had AEDs, but many of the indoor basketball venues such as community centers and schools, did not.” said Holmes “This was an exceptionally bright bunch of guys who quickly picked up on the training, asked tough questions and were soon very confident in using the AED, should the need arise.”


This means that if one of the players were to have a sudden cardiac arrest, any of the Tuesday Knights would be there, immediately able to assist, and increase the chances of survival.

Iridia is thrilled to have provided the Knights with their AED and AED Training and training, and applauds their proactive measures. By staying active they are reducing one of the risk factors for cardiac issues, and by having an AED on hand, they are ensuring they’ll continue to play together for many more years.