The Public Health Agency (PHA) is launching the F.A.S.T. public information campaign on Thursday 2 June 2011 to raise awareness of stroke signs and symptoms, and what to do if you think someone is having a stroke.
The F.A.S.T. campaign is designed to inform the public about F.A.S.T. – Face, Arm, Speech, and Time to call 999.
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 – Time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs.
Stroke is a medical emergency and claims the lives of 1,300 people every year in Northern Ireland and is the third most common cause of death and the greatest cause of adult disability. Each year there are 2,300 emergency admissions to hospital for stroke. Research shows that awareness of the signs and symptoms of stroke, and what action to take, is low among the general population.
Stroke is an attack on the brain and requires immediate action, but not recognising the signs and symptoms can mean that urgent medical treatment is delayed, which increases the likelihood of brain damage. The campaign includes hard-hitting imagery to highlight the visible signs of stroke.
Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive, PHA said: “Stroke is still one of the biggest causes of death and disability in Northern Ireland. It is essential that everyone recognises the signs of stroke and realises the importance of dialling 999 as quickly as possible.
“It is vital that anyone who has a stroke is assessed medically as quickly as possible. Calling an ambulance and getting to hospital immediately can make a big difference in reducing the damage caused by stroke. For many, this prompt action will substantially improve their quality of life. The F.A.S.T. campaign will teach the community when to act fast and save lives.”
Dr Rooney continued: “The campaign will be sustained for three years, which will continue to drive home the important F.A.S.T. message to the population.”
Contact the PHA Press Office on 028 9031 1611.
Notes to the editor
- The campaign launch will take place on Thursday 2 June 2011 at 11.00am, Conference room, PHA Headquarters, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast. Medical experts and patients recovering from stroke will speak at the launch. Copies of the advert are available on request.
- Campaign support materials will be available from Friday 2 June 2011. These include: public information leaflets (male and female version), posters, wallet cards (See the links below to view these) and dispensers. These materials will be distributed to all Health and Social Care Trusts, GPs, pharmacies, libraries, leisure centres, Citizens Advice Bureau, HE Colleges, Chest, Heart and Stroke, Stroke Association, private and residential homes, Fire and Rescue service and post primary schools.
- The term ‘stroke’ describes a loss of brain function due to a blood clot or bleed in the brain.
- The F.A.S.T. public information campaign includes TV and radio advertising starting 3 June 2011, running until 14 July 2011, and will re-run again in September 2011.
Links to support materials:
Female leaflet- http://www.publichealth.hscni.net/press/stroke/Female_Leaflet.pdf
Female poster - http://www.publichealth.hscni.net/press/stroke/Female_Poster.pdf
Male leaflet - http://www.publichealth.hscni.net/press/stroke/Male_Leaflet.pdf
Male poster- http://www.publichealth.hscni.net/press/stroke/Male_Poster.pdf
Wallet card - http://www.publichealth.hscni.net/press/stroke/WalletCard.pdf
At the launch of the stroke campaign, from left, Health Minister, Edwin Poots; Dr Brid Farrell, Consultant in Public Health Medicine PHA; Cilla Taylor, Stroke patient; Dr Patricia Gordon, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive, Public Health Agency.