F.A.S.T. – The Warning Signs of a Stroke

Spring is a time for new beginnings – a time to step back outside and feel the fresh air and sunshine that permeate with the new season; a time to plant new seeds, ideas and adventures in life; a time to learn vital information that can save the life of a loved one.

Last month was National Stroke Awareness Month.  Focus has been given during that month to recognizing and preventing cerebral vascular accidents (CVA) or stroke. The American Heart Association provides a key algorithm that is easy to remember, aiding in identification of signs and symptoms of a stroke.


F.A.S.T. represents the first letter respectively of four signs and symptoms of an acute stroke. These are as follows:

F – Face drooping. Have the person smile. Do you notice one side of the mouth remains motionless while the other side lifts producing an uneven smile? Is there numbness?

A – Arm weakness. Have the person lift both arms in front of their body. Does one arm “float” downward or drift to one side? Is there weakness or numbness to one side?

S – Speech difficulty. Ask the person to say a familiar phrase, such as the nursery rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or sing the Happy Birthday song. Do you notice difficulty with pronouncing the words? Is the phrase repeated correctly?

T – Time to call 9-1-1.   If any of the signs or symptoms above have been visible, even if they disappear, note the time and call for emergency help right away. Time is of the essence so driving the person to the closest Emergency Department can create further injury in the victim.

Emergency responders are trained to care for the victim of an acute stroke. Paramedics have the ability to begin treatment of an acute stroke en route to the hospital, saving time and possible further injury. Recognizing the signs and symptoms then making the call to emergency personnel at the first sign of a stroke can minimize the long-term of effects of a stroke and even prevent death (strokeassociation.org).

 SureFire CPR Can Train You in F.A.S.T. – The Warning Signs of a Stroke

Training centers are available nationwide to help prepare community and professionals alike in recognizing and acting when a CVA is suspected. Surefire CPR is the training center located in Orange County, California and specializes in providing Basic Life Support (BLS), Basic First Aid, Advanced and Pediatric Life Support (ACLS and PALS) to those seeking that specific certification. Friendly instructors who actively practice these skills in the field are ready to help individuals become prepared and knowledgeable for possible injury or life threatening accidents, including Strokes.

Act FAST and contact Surefire CPR to find out how you can recognize and intervene when a Stroke is suspected. Learn what to do in an emergency and be prepared to Save a Life.

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About the author

I spent 15 years as a firefighter and paramedic...

And too often I would arrive on the scene of someone unconscious, surrounded by a circle of people feeling helpless. Sometimes those people would even have CPR training but lacked the confidence and experience to act.

That’s why I started SureFire CPR. Our classes are practical and engaging – teaching you the crucial skills you need to know what to do and feel empowered to take action.

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Zack Zarrilli, Founder

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