Act FAST to save a life


East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s public health team is supporting the annual ‘Act F.A.S.T.’ stroke campaign, which runs throughout the month of March, to empower people to call 999 at any sign of a stroke.

Public Health England has re-launched the national ‘Act FAST’ stroke campaign, which runs until 31 March, working closely with the Stroke Association.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of stroke and to encourage people who recognise any single one of the symptoms of stroke, in themselves or others, to call 999 immediately.

The F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) acronym has featured in the advertising for a number of years and is a simple test to help people identify the most common signs of a stroke, and to emphasise the importance of acting quickly by calling 999.

F.A.S.T. teaches people what to look out for in themselves and in others:

Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?

Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?

Speech – is their speech slurred?

Time to call 999

There are some of other symptoms that people should be aware of as these may occasionally be due to stroke. These include:

– Sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes

– Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body

– Sudden memory loss or confusion

– Sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall, especially with any of the other symptoms.

Acting F.A.S.T. as soon as stroke symptoms present themselves can not only save lives but potentially limit long-term effects.

Councillor Jonathan Owen, chair of East Riding Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “Acting quickly in this situation is imperative and the faster you can help someone showing signs of stroke, the better chance they have of survival or avoiding long-term disabilities.”

A stroke is a ‘brain attack’, caused by a disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. It’s a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. So recognising the signs of stroke and calling 999 for an ambulance is crucial.

There are over 100,000 strokes a year in the UK, causing over 40,000 deaths with two thirds of stroke survivors leaving hospital with a disability.

The sooner somebody who is having a stroke gets urgent medical attention, the better their chances of a good recovery.

One of the main objectives of the campaign is to get people who witness somebody showing stroke symptoms to overcome any initial reluctance to call. They are being asked to ‘Make the Call’ and dial 999.

Search ‘Act FAST’ for more information.